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University of California • Berkeley 

Reinhard S. Speck Collection 


Harriet Martineau 


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Health in the Camp, 


" My son," said Father Francesco, ris- 
ing up with an air of authority, " you do 
not undoi-stand, — there is nothing in you 
by which you should understand. This 
unhappy brother hath opened his case to 
me, and I have counselled him all I know 
of prayer and fastings and watchings and 
mortifications. Let him persevere in the 
same ; and if all these fail, the good Lord 
will send the other in His own time. There 
is an end to all things in this life, and that 
end shall certainly come at last. Bid him 
persevere and hope in this. — And now, 
brother," added the Superior, with digni- 

ty, " if you have no other query, time flies 
and eternity comes on, — go, watch and 
pray, and leave me to my prayers also." 

He raised his hand with a gesture of 
benediction, and Father Johannes, awed 
in spite of himself, felt impelled to leave 
the apartment. 

" Is it so, or is it not ? " he said. " I 
cannot tell. He did seem to wince and 
turn away his head when I proposed the 
case ; but then he made fight at last. I 
cannot tell whether I have got any ad- 
vantage or not; but patience! we shall 

RP.P. ! " 


All the world has heard a great deal 
of the sufferings and mortality of the 
English and French armies in the late 
Russian war ; and in most countries the 
story has been heard to some purpose. 
Reforms and new methods have been in- 
stituted in almost every country in Eu- 
rope, — so strong has been the effect of 
the mere outline of the case, which is all 
that has been furnished to the public. 
The broad facts of the singular mortality 
first, and the singular healthfulness of the 
British army afterwards, on the same 
spot and under the same military cir- 
cumstances as before, have interested all 
rulers of armies, and brought about great 
benefits to the soldier, throughout the 
length and breadth of Europe. Within 
these broad outlines there was a multi- 
tude of details which were never record- 
ed in a systematic way, or which, for 
good and suflicient reasons, could not be 
made public at the time ; and these de- 
tails are the part of the story most inter- 
esting to soldiers actually in the field or 
likely to be called there soon. They are 
also deeply interesting to every order of 
persons concerned in a civil war; for 
such a war summons forth a citizen sol- 
diery to form a system for themselves in 

regard to the life of the march and the 
camp, and to do the best they can for 
that life and health which they have de- 
voted to their country. Under such cir- 
cumstances it cannot but be interesting 
to the patriots in the camp and to their 
families at home to know some facts which 
they cannot have heard before of the 
mistakes made at the beginning of the 
last Russian war, and the repair of those 
mistakes before the end of it. The prompt 
and anxious care exercised by the Amer- 
ican Sanitary Commission, and the be- 
nevolent diligence bestowed on the or- 
ganization of hospitals for the Federal 
forces, show that the lesson of the Crimean 
campaign has been studied in the United 
States ; and this is an encouragement to 
afford further illustrations of the case, 
when new material is at command. 

I am thinking most of the volunteer 
forces at this moment, for the obvious 
reason that their health is in greater dan- 
ger than that of the professional soldier. 
The regular troops live under a system 
which is always at work to feed, clothe, 
lodge, and entertain them: whereas the 
volunteers are quitting one mode of life 
for another, all the circumstances of 
which had to be created at the shortest 


Health in the Camp. 


notice. To them their first campaign must 
be very like what it was to British soldiers 
who had never seen war to be sent to 
Turkey first, and then to the Crimea, to 
live a new kind of life, and meet discom- 
forts and dangers which they had never 
dreamed of. I shall therefore select my 
details with a view to the volunteers and 
their friends in the first place. 

The enthusiasm which started the vol- 
unteers of every Northern State on their 
new path of duty could hardly exceed 
that by which the British troops were 
escorted from their barrack-gates to the 
margin of the sea. The war was univer- 
sally approved (except by a chque of 
peace-men) ; and there was a universal 
confidence that the troops would do their 
duty well, though not one man in a thou- 
sand of them had ever seen war. As 
they marched down to their ships, in the 
best mood, and with every appearance 
of health and spirit, nobody formed any 
conception of what would happen. Par- 
liament had fulfilled the wishes of the 
people by voting liberal sums for the 
due support of the troops ; the Adminis- 
tration desired and ordered that every- 
thing should be done for the soldier's 
welfare ; and as far as orders and ar- 
rangements went, the scheme was thor- 
oughly well intended and generous. Who 
could anticipate, that, while the enemy 
never once gained a battle or obtain- 
ed an advantage over British or French, 
two-thirds of that fine stout British force 
would perish in a few months ? Of the 
twenty-five thousand who went out, eigh- 
teen thousand were dead in a year ; and 
the enemy was answerable for a very 
small proportion of those deaths. Before 
me lie the returns of six months of those 
twelve, showing the fate of the troops for 
that time ; and it furnishes the key to the 
whole story. 

In those six months, the admissions in- 
to hospital in the Crimea (exclusive of 
the Scutari Hospital) were 52,548. The 
number shows that many must have en- 
tered the hospitals more than once, as 
well as that the place of the dead was 
iupplied by new comers from England. 

Of these, nearly fifty thousand were ab- 
solutely untouched by the Russians. On- 
ly 3,806 of the whole number were wound- 
ed. Even this is not the most striking 
circumstance. It is more impressive that 
three-fourths of the sick sufiered unne- 
cessarily. Seventy-five per cent, of them 
sufiered from preventable diseases. That 
is, the naturally sick were 12,563 ; while 
the needlessly sick were 36,179. When 
we look at the deaths from this number, 
the case appears still more striking. The 
deaths were 5,359 ; and of these scarcely 
more than the odd hundreds were from 
wounds, — that is, 373. Of the remain- 
der, little more than one-tenth were un- 
avoidable deaths. The natural deaths, 
as we may call them, were only 521 ; 
while the preventable deaths were 4,465. 
Very different would have been the spir- 
it of the parting in England, if the sol- 
diers' friends had imagined that so small 
a number would fall by Russian gun or 
bayonet, or by natural sickness, while the 
mortality from mismanagement would at 
one season of the next year exceed that 
of London in the worst days of the Great 

That the case was really what is here 
represented was proved by the actual 
prevention of this needless sickness dur- 
ing the last year of the war. In the same 
camp, and under the same circumstances 
of warfare, the mortality was reduced, by 
good management, to a degree unhoped 
for by all but those who achieved it. 
The deaths for the last half year were 
one-third fewer than at home ! And yet 
the army that died was composed of fine, 
well-trained troops ; while the army that 
lived and flourished was of a far inferior 
material when it came out, — raw, un- 
travelled, and unhardened to the milita- 
ry life. 

How did these things happen ? There 
can be no more important question for 
Americans at this time. 

I will not go into the history of the 
weaknesses and faults of the administra- 
tion of departments at home. They have 
been abundantly published already ; and 
we may hope that they bear no relation 


Health in the Gamp. 


to the American case. It is more inter- 
esting to look into the circumstances of 
the march and the camp, for illustration 
of what makes the health or the sickness 
of the soldier. 

Wherever the men were to provide 
themselves with anything to eat or to 
wear out of their pay, they were found 
to suffer. There is no natural market, 
with fair prices, in the neighborhood of 
warfare ; and, on the one hand, a man 
cannot often get what he wishes, and, 
on the other, he is tempted to buy some- 
thing not so good for him. If there are 
commissariat stores opened, there is an 
endless accumulation of business, — a 
mass of accounts to keep of the stop- 
pages from the men's pay. On all ac- 
counts it is found better for all parties 
that the wants of the soldier should be 
altogether supplied in the form of rations 
of varied food and drink, and of clothing 
varying with climate and season. 

In regard to food, which comes first in 
importance of the five heads of the sol- 
dier's wants, the English soldier was re- 
markably helpless till he learned better. 
The Russians cut that matter very short. 
Every man carried a certain portion of 
black rye bread and some spirit. No 
cooking was required, and the men were 
very independent. But the diet is bad ; 
and the Russian regiments were compos- 
ed of sallow-faced men, who died " like 
flies" under frequently recurring epi- 
demics. The Turks were in their own 
country, and used their accustomed diet. 
The French are the most apt, the most 
practised, and the most economical man- 
agers of food of any of the parties engag- 
ed in the war. Their campaigns in Al- 
geria had taught them how to help them- 
selves; and they could obtain a decent 
meal where an Englishman would have 
eaten nothing, or something utterly un- 
wholesome. The Sardinians came next, 
and it was edifying to see how they could 
build a fire-place and obtain a fire in a 
few minutes to boil their pot. In other 
ways both French and Sardinians suffer- 
ed miserably when the British had sur- 
mounted their misfortunes. The mortal- 

ity from cholera and dysentery in the 
French force, during the last year, was 
uncalculated and unreported. It was so 
excessive as, in fact, to close the war too 
soon. The Sardinians were ravaged by 
disease from their huts being made part- 
ly under ground. But, so far as the prep- 
aration of their food went, both had the 
advantage of the British, in a way which 
will never happen again. I believe the 
Americans and the English are bad cooks 
in about the same degree ; and the warn- 
ing afforded by the one may be accepted 
by the other. 

At the end of a day, in Bulgaria or 
the Crimea, what happened was this. 

The soldiers who did not understand 
cooking or messing had to satisfy their 
hunger any way they could. They were 
so exhausted that they were sure to drink 
up their allowance of grog the first mo- 
ment they could lay hands on it. Then 
there was hard biscuit, a lump of very 
salt pork or beef, as hard as a board, and 
some coffee, raw. Those who had no 
touch of scurvy (and they were few) 
munched their biscuit while they poked 
about everywhere with a knife, digging 
up roots or cutting green wood to make 
a fire. Each made a hole in the ground, 
unless there was a bank or great stone at 
hand, and there he tried, for one half- 
hour after another, to kindle a fire. When 
he got up a flame, there was his salt meat 
to cook: it ought to have been soaked 
and stewed for hours ; but he could not 
wait; and he pulled it to pieces, and 
gnawed what he could of it, when it was 
barely warm. Then he had to roast his 
coffee, which he did in the lid of his camp- 
kettle, burning it black, and breaking it 
as small as he could, with stones or any- 
how. Such coffee as it would make could 
hardly be worth the trouble. It was call- 
ed by one of the doctors charcoal and wa- 
ter. Such a supper could not fit a man 
for outpost duty for the night, nor give 
him good sleep after the toils of the day. 

The Sardinians, meantime, united in 
companies, some members of which were 
usually on the spot to prepare supper for 
the rest. They knew how to look for or 


Health in the Camp. 


provide a shelter for their fire, if only a 
foot high ; and how to cut three or four 
little trenches, converging at the fire, so 
as to afford a good draught which would 
kindle even bad fuel. They had good 
stews and porridge and coffee ready 
when wanted. The French always had 
fresh bread. They carried portable ovens 
and good bakers. The British had flour, 
after a time, but they did not know how 
to make bread ; and if men volunteered 
for the ofiice, day after day, it usually 
turned out that they had a mind for a 
holiday, and knew nothing of baking; 
and their bread came out of the oven too 
heavy, or sour, or sticky, or burnt, to be 
eaten. As scurvy spread and deepened, 
the doctors made eager demands on Gov- 
ernment for lime-juice, and more lime- 
juice. Government had sent plenty of 
lime-juice ; but it was somehow neglect- 
ed among the stores for twenty-four days 
when it was most wanted, as was the sup- 
ply of rice for six weeks when dysentery 
was raging. All the time, the truth was, 
as was acknowledged afterwards, that the 
thing really wanted was good food. The 
lime-juice was a medicine, a specific ; 
but it could be of no real use till the 
frame was nourished with proper food. 
When flour, and preserved vegetables, 
and fresh meat were served out, and there 
were coffee-mills all through the camp, 
the men were still unable to benefit by the 
change as their allies did. They could 
grind and make their coffee ; but they 
were still without good fresh bread and 
soup. They despised the preserved vege- 
tables, not believing that those little cakes 
could do them any good. When they 
learned at last how two ounces of those 
little cakes were equal, when well cook- 
ed, to eight ounces of fresh vegetables, 
and just as profitable for a stew or with 
their meat, they duly prized them, and 
during the final healthy period those 
pressed vegetables were regarded in the 
camp as a necessary of life. By that 
time, Soyer's zeal had introduced good 
cookery into the camp. Roads were 
made by which supplies were continual- 
ly arriving. Fresh meat abounded ; and 

it was brought in on its own legs, so that 
it was certain that beef was beef, and 
mutton mutton, instead of goat's flesh 
being substituted, as in Bulgaria. By 
that time it was discovered that the most 
lavish orders at home and the profusest 
expenditure by the commissariat will not 
feed and clothe an army in a foreign 
country, unless there is some agency, 
working between the commissariat and 
the soldiers, to take care that the food 
is actually in their hands in an eatable 
form, and the clothes on their backs. 

It is for American soldiers to judge 
how much of this applies to their case. 
The great majority of the volunteers must 
be handy, self-helping men ; and bands 
of citizens from the same towns or vil- 
lages must be disposed and accustomed 
to concerted action ; but cooking is prob- 
ably the last thing they have any of them 
turned their hand to. Much depends on 
the source of "their food-supply. I fear 
they live on the country they are in, — at 
least, when in the enemy's country. This 
is very easy living, certainly. To shoot 
pigs or fowls in road or yard is one way 
of getting fresh meat, as ravaging gar- 
dens is a short way of feasting on vege- 
tables. But supposing the forces fed 
from a regular commissariat department, 
is there anything to be learned from the 
Crimean campaigns ? 

The British are better supplied with 
the food of the country, wherever they 
are, than the French, because it is their 
theory and practice to pay as they go; 
whereas it is the French, or at least the 
Bonapartist theory and practice, to " make 
the war support itself," that is, to live up- 
on the people of the country. In the 
Peninsular War, the French often found 
themselves in a desert where they could 
not stay ; whereas, when Wellington and 
his troops followed upon their steps, the 
peasants reappeared from all quarters, 
bringing materials for a daily market. In 
the Crimea, the faithful and ready pay- 
ments of the English commissariat insur- 
ed plenty of food material, in the form of 
cattle and flour, biscuit and vegetables. 
The defect was in means of transport for 


Health in the Camp. 


bringing provisions to the camp. The 
men were trying to eat hg,rd salt meat 
and biscuit, when scurvy made all eating 
difficult, while herds of cattle were wait- 
ing to be slaughtered, and ship-loads of 
flour were lying seven miles off. Whole 
deck-loads of cabbages and onions were 
thrown into the sea, while the men in 
camp were pining for vegetable food. An 
impracticable track lay between ; and the 
poor fellows died by thousands before the 
road could be made good, and transport- 
animals obtained, and the food distribut- 
ed among the tents and huts. Experience 
taught the officers that the food should be 
taken entire charge of by departments of 
the army till it was actually smoking in 
the mens' hands. There were agents, 
of course, in all the countries round, to 
buy up the cattle, flour, and vegetables 
needed. The animals should be deliver- 
ed at appointed spots, alive and in good 
condition, that there might be no smug- 
gling in of joints of doubtful character. 
There should be a regular arrangement 
of shambles, at a proper distance from the 
tents, and provided with a special drain- 
age, and means of disposing instantly of 
the offal. Each company in the camp 
should have its kitchen, and one or two 
skilled cooks, — one to serve on each day, 
with perhaps two assistants from the com- 
pany. After the regular establishment 
of the kitchens, there was always food 
ready and coffee procurable for the tired 
men who came in from the trenches or 
outpost duty ; and it was a man's own 
fault, if he went without a meal when off 

It was found to be a grave mistake to 
feed the soldiers on navy salt beef and 
pork. Corned beef and pork salted for 
a fortnight have far more nourishment 
and make much less waste in the prepa- 
ration than meat which is salted for a voy- 
age of months. After a time, very little 
of the hard salted meat was used at all. 
When it was, it was considered essential 
to serve out peas with the pork, and flour, 
raisins, and suet, for a pudding, on salt- 
beef days. In course of time there were 
additions which made considerable varie- 

ty: as rice, preserved potatoes, pressed 
vegetables, cheese, dried fruits and suet 
for puddings, sugar, coffee properly roast- 
ed, and malt liquor. Beer and porter 
answer much better than any kind of 
spirit, and are worth pains and cost to 
obtain. With such variety as this, with 
portable kitchens in the place of the cum- 
bersome camp-kettle per man, with fresh 
bread, well-cooked meat and vegetables, 
and well-made coffee, the soldiers will 
have every chance of health that diet can 
afford. Whereas hard and long-kept salt 
meat, insufficiently soaked and cooked, 
and hastily broiled meat or fowls, just 
killed, and swallowed by hungry men 
unskilled in preparing food, help on dis- 
eases of the alimentary system as effectu- 
ally as that intemperance in melons and 
cucumbers and unripe grapes and apples 
which has destroyed more soldiers than 
all the weapons of all enemies. 

So much for the food. Next in order 
come the clothing, and care of the per- 

The newspapers have a great deal to 
say, as we have all seen, about the bad- 
ness of much of the clothing furnished to 
the Federal troops. There is no need 
to denounce the conduct of faithless con- 
tractors in such a case ; and the glorious 
zeal of the women, and of all who can 
help to make up clothing for the army, 
shows that the volunteers at least will be 
well clad, if the good- will of society can 
effect it. Whatever the form of dress, it 
is the height of imprudence to use flimsy 
material for it. 

It seems to be everywhere agreed, in 
a general way, that the soldier's dress 
should be of an easy fit, in the first place ; 
light enough for hot weather and noon 
service, with resources of warmth for cold 
weather and night duty. In Europe, the 
blouse or loose tunic is preferred to every 
other form of coat, and knickerbockers or 
gaiters to any form of trousers. The shoe 
or boot is the weak point of almost all 
military forces. The French are getting 
over it; and the English are learning 
from them. The number of sizes and 
proportions is, I think, five to one of 


Health in the Camp, 


what it used to be in the early part of 
the century, so that any soldier can get 
fitted. The Duke of Wellington wrote 
home from the Peninsula in those days, 
— " If you don't send shoes, the army 
can't march." The enemy marched away 
to a long distance before the shoes arriv- 
ed ; and when they came, they were all 
too small. Such things do not happen 
now ; but it often does happen that hun- 
dreds are made footsore, and thrown out 
of the march, by being ill-shod ; and there 
seems reason to believe that much of the 
lagging and apparent desertion of strag- 
glers in the marches of the volunteers of 
the Federal army is owing to the diffi- 
culty of keeping up with men who walk 
at ease. If the Southern troops are in 
such want of shoes as is reported, that 
circumstance alone is almost enough to 
turn the scale, provided the Northern 
regiments attain the full use of their feet 
by being accurately fitted with stout shoes 
or boots. During the darkest days in the 
Crimea, those who had boots which would 
stick on ceased to take them ofi*. They 
slept in them, wet or dry, knowing, that, 
once oS', they could never be got on 
again. Such things cannot happen in 
the Northern States, where the stoppage 
of the trade in shoes to the South leaves 
leather, skill, and time for the proper 
shoeing of the army ; but it may not yet 
be thoroughly understood how far the 
practical value of every soldier depends 
on the welfare of his feet, and how many 
sizes and proportions of shoe are needed 
for duly fitting a thousand men. 

As for the rest, the conclusion after the 
Crimean campaign was that flannel shirts 
answer better than cotton on the whole. 
If the shirt is cotton, there must be a flan- 
nel waistcoat ; and the flannel shirt an- 
swers the purpose of both, while it is as 
easily washed as any material. Every 
man should have a flannel bandage for 
the body, in case of illness, or unusual 
fatigue, or sudden changes of tempera- 
ture. The make and pressure of the 
knapsack are very important, so that the 
weight may be thrown on the shoulders, 
without pressure on the chest or inter- 

ference with the arms. The main object 
is the avoidance of pressure everywhere, 
from the toe-joints to the crown of the 
head. For this the head-covering should 
be studied, that it may afford shelter and 
shade from heat and light, and keep on, 
against the wind, without pressure on the 
temples or forehead. For this the neck- 
tie should be studied, and the cut of the 
coat-chest and sleeve, when coats must 
be worn : and every man must have some 
sort of overcoat, for chilly and damp hours 
of duty. There is great danger in the 
wearing of water-proof fabrics, unless they 
are so loose as to admit of a free circula- 
tion of air between them and the body. 

With the clothing is generally connect- 
ed the care of the person. It is often 
made a question, With whom rests the 
responsibility of the personal cleanliness 
of the soldier? The medical men de- 
clare that they do what they can, but that 
there is nothing to be said when the men 
are unsupplied with water ; and all per- 
suasions are thrown away when the poor 
fellows are in tatters, and sleeping on 
dirty straw or the bare ground. The in- 
dolent ones, at least, go on from day to 
day without undressing, combing, or wash- 
ing, till they are swarming with vermin ; 
and then they have lost self-respect. But 
if, before it is too late, there is an issue 
of new shirts, boots, stockings, comforters, 
or woollen gloves, the event puts spirit in- 
to them ; they will strip and wash, and 
throw out dirt and rags from their sleep- 
ing-places, and feel respectable again. 

Perhaps the first consideration should 
be on the part of the quartermaster, 
whose business it is to see to the supply 
of water; and the sanitary officer has 
next to take care that every man gets his 
eight or ten gallons per day. If the sol- 
diers are posted near a stream which can 
be used for bathing and washing clothes, 
there ought to be no difficulty ; and ev- 
ery man may fairly be required to be as 
thoroughly washed from head to foot ev- 
ery day, and as clean in his inner cloth- 
ing, as his own little children at home. 
If on high and dry ground, where the 
water-supply is restricted, some method 


Health in the Camp. 


and order are needed; but no pains 
should be spared to afford each man his 
eight or ten gallons. 

This cannot be done, unless the source 
of supply is properly guarded. When 
unrestrained access is afforded to a spring- 
head or pond, the water is fatally wasted 
and spoiled. In the Crimea, the English 
officers had to build round the spring- 
heads, and establish a regular order in 
getting supplied. Where there is crowd- 
ing, dirt gets thrown in, the water is mud- 
died, or animals are brought to drink at 
the source. This ruins everything ; for 
animals will not drink below, when the 
mouth of horse, mule, or cow has touch- 
ed the water above. The way is for 
guardians to take possession, and board 
over the source, and make a reservoir 
with taps, allowing water to be taken 
first for drinking and washing purposes, 
a flow being otherwise provided by spout 
and troughs for the animals, and for 
cleansing the camp. The difference on 
the same spot was enormous between the 
time when a British sergeant wrote that 
he was not so well as at home, and could 
not expect it, not having had his shoes 
or any of his clothes off for five months, 
and the same time the next year, when ev- 
ery respectable soldier was fresh and tidy, 
with his blood flowing healthfully under 
a clean skin. The poor sergeant said, in 
his days of discomfort : " I wonder what 
our sweethearts would think of us, if they 
were to see us now, — unshaved, unwash- 
ed, and quite old men ! " But in a year, 
those who survived had grown young 
again, — not shaven, perhaps, for their 
beards were a great natural comfort on 
winter duty, but brushed and washed, 
in vigorous health, and gay spirits. 

The next consideration is the soldier's 
abode, — whether tent, or hut, or quar- 

I have shown certain British doctors 
demanding lime-juice when food was ne- 
cessary first. In the same way, there 
was a cry from the same quarter for peat 
charcoal, instead of preventing the need 
of disinfectants. Wherever men are con- 

egated in large numbers, — in a cara- 

VOL. vm. 37 

van, at a fair in the East or a protracted 
camp-meeting in the far West, or as a 
military force anywhere, there is always 
animal refuse which should not be per- 
mitted to lie about for a day or an hour. 
Dead camels among Oriental merchants, 
dead horses among Western soldiers, are 
the cause of plague. It is to be hoped 
that there will never be a military en- 
campment again without the appointment 
of officers whose business it shall be to see 
that all carrion, offal, and dirt of every 
kind is put away into its proper place 
instantly. For those receptacles, and 
for stables and shambles, peat charcoal 
is a great blessing; but it ought not to 
be needed in or about the abodes of the 
men. The case is different in different 
armies. The French have a showy or- 
derliness in their way of settling them- 
selves on new ground, — forming their 
camp into streets, with names painted 
up, and opening post-office, cafis^ and 
bazaars of camp-followers ; but they are 
not radically neat in their ways. In a 
few days or weeks their settlement is a 
place of stench, turning to disease ; and 
thus it was, that, notwithstanding their 
fresh bread, and good cookery, and clever 
arrangements, they were swept away by 
cholera and dysentery, to an extent un- 
revealed to this day, while the British 
force, once well fed and clothed, had 
actually only five per cent, sick from alii 
causes, in their whole force. 

The Sardinians suffered, as I have al~ 
ready observed, from their way of mak- 
ing their huts. They excavated a space, 
to the depth of three or four feet, and 
used the earth they threw out to embank- 
the walls raised upon the edge of the ex- 
cavation. This procured warmth in win- 
ter and coolness in hot weather ; but the 
interior was damp and ill-ventilated ; and 
as soon as there was any collection of 
refuse within, cholera and fever broke 
out. It is essential to health that the 
dwelling should be above ground, admit- 
ting the circulation of air from the base to 
the ridge of the roof, where there should 
be an escape for it at all hours of the day 
and night. 


Health in the Camp. 


Among volunteer troops in America, 
the difficulty would naturally seem to 
be the newness of the discipline, the 
strangeness of the requisite obedience. 
Something must be true of all that is 
said of the scattering about of food, and 
other things which have no business to 
lie about on the ground. A soldier is 
out of his duty who throws away a crust, 
of bread or meat, or casts bones to dogs,' 
or in any way helps to taint the air or 
obstruct the watercourses or drains. It 
may be troublesome to obey the requisi- 
tions of the sanitary authorities ; but it is 
the only chance for escaping camp-dis- 

On the other hand, in fixing on a spot 
for encampment, it is due to the soldier 
to avoid all boggy places, and all places 
where the air is stagnant from inclos- 
ure by woods, or near burial-grounds, or 
where the soil is unfavorable to drainage. 
The military officer must admit the ad- 
vice of the sanitary officer in the case, 
though he may not be always able to 
adopt it. When no overwhelming mili- 
tary considerations interfere, the soldiers 
have a right to be placed on the most 
dry and pervious soil that may offer, in 
an airy situation, removed from swamps 
and dense woods, and admitting of easy 
drainage. Wood and water used to be 
the quartermaster's sole demands ; now, 
good soil and air are added, and a suita- 
ble slope of the ground, and other minor 

It depends on the character of the 
country whether quarters in towns and 
villages are best, or huts or tents. In 
Europe, town quarters are found partic- 
ularly fatal ; and the state of health of 
the inmates of tents and huts depends 
much on the structure and placing of 
either. Precisely the same kind of hut 
in the Crimea held a little company of 
men in perfect health, or a set of inva- 
lids, carried out one after another to their 
graves. Nay, the same hut bore these 
different characters, according to its po- 
sition at the top of a slope, or half-way 
down, so as to collect under its floor the 
^drainage from a spring. American sol- 

diers, however, are hardly likely to bo 
hutted, I suppose ; so I need say no more 
than that in huts and tents alike it is in- 
dispensable to health that there should be 
air-holes, — large spaces, sheltered from 
rain, — in the highest part of the struc- 
ture, whether the entrance below be open 
or closed. The sanitary officers no doubt 
have it in charge to see that every man 
has his due allowance of cubic feet of 
fresh air, — in other words, to take care 
that each tent or other apartment is well 
ventilated, and not crowded. The men's 
affair is to establish such rules among 
comrades as that no one shall stop up 
air-holes, or overcrowd the place with 
guests, or taint the air with unwholesome 
fumes. In the British army, bell-tents 
are not allowed at all as hospital tents. 
Active, healthy men may use them in 
their resting hours ; but their condemna- 
tion as abodes for the sick shows how 
pressing is the duty of ventilating them 
for the use of the strongest and healthi- 

A sound and airy tent being provided, 
the next consideration is of bedding. 

The surgeons of the British force were 
always on the lookout for straw and hay, 
after being informed at the outset that 
the men could not have bedding, though 
it was hoped there was enough for the 
hospitals. A few nights in the dust, 
among the old bones and rubbish of Gal- 
lipoli, and then in the Bulgarian marsh- 
es, showed that it would be better to be- 
stow the bedding before the men went 
into hospital, and sheets of material were 
obtained for some of them to lie upon. 
A zealous surgeon pointed out to the 
proper officer that this bedding consisted 
in fact of double ticking, evidently in- 
tended as paillasses, to be stuffed with 
straw. The straw not being granted, he 
actually set to work to make hay ; and, 
being well aided by the soldiers, he soon 
saw them sleeping on good mattresses. 
It was understood in England, and be- 
lieved by the Government, that every 
soldier in camp had three blankets ; and 
after a time, this came true : but in the 
interval, during the damp autumn and 


Health in the Gamp. 


bitter winter, they had but one. Lying 
on wet ground, with one damp and dirty 
blanket over them, prepared hundreds 
for the hospital and the grave. The mis- 
chief was owing to the jealousy of some 
of the medical authorities, in the first 
place, who would not see, believe, or al- 
low to be reported, the fact that the men 
were in any way ill-supplied, because 
these same doctors had specified the 
stores that would be wanted, — and next, 
to the absence of a department for the ac- 
tual distribution of existing stores. With 
the bedding the case was the same as 
with the lime-juice and the rice : there 
was plenty ; but it was not served out till 
too late. When the huts were inhabited, 
in the Crimea, and the wooden platforms 
had a dry soil beneath, and every man 
had a bed of some sort and three blank- 
ets, there was no more cholera or fever. 

The American case is radically unlike 
that of any of the combatants in the Cri- 
mean War, because they are on the soil 
of their own country, within reach of 
their own railways, and always in the 
midst of the ordinary commodities of life. 
In such a position, they can with the ut- 
most ease be supplied with whatever they 
really want, — so profuse as are the funds 
placed at the command of the author- 
ities. Considering this, and the well- 
known handiness of Americans, there 
need surely be no disease and death 
from privation. This may be confident- 
ly said while we have before us the case 
of the British in the Crimea during the 
second winter of the war. A sanitary 
commission had been sent out ; and 
under their authority, and by th^ help 
of experience, everything was rectified. 
The healthy were stronger than ever ; 
there was scarcely any sickness ; and the 
wounded recovered without drawback. 
As the British ended, the Americans 
ought to begin. 

On the last two heads of the soldier's 
case there is little to be said here, be- 
cause the American troops are at home, 
and not in a perilous foreign climate, and 
on the shores of a remote sea. Their drill 
can hardly be appointed for wrong hours. 

or otherwise mismanaged. In regard to 
transport, they have not the embarrass- 
ment of crowds of sick and wounded, far 
away in the Black Sea, without any ade- 
quate supply of mules and carriages, after 
the horses had died off, and without any 
organization of hospital ships at all equal 
to the demand. Neither do they depend 
for clothing and medicines on the arrival 
of successive ships through the storms of 
the Euxine ; and they will never see the 
dreary spectacle of the foundering of a 
noble vessel just arriving, in November, 
with ample stores of winter clothing, 
medicines, and comforts, which six hours 
more would have placed in safety. Un- 
der the head of transport, they ought to 
have nothing to sufier. 

Having gone through the separate 
items, and looking at the case as a whole, 
we may easily perceive that in America, 
as in England and France and every 
other country, the responsibility of the 
soldier's health in camp is shared thus. 

The authorities are bound so to ar- 
range their work as that there shall be 
no hitch through which disaster shall 
reach the soldiery. The relations be- 
tween the military and medical authori- 
ties must be so settled and made clear as 
that no professional jealousy among the 
doctors shall keep the commanding offi- 
cers in the dark as to the needs of their 
men, and that no self-will or ignorance 
in commanding officers shall neutralize 
the counsels of the medical men. The 
military authorities must not depend on 
the report of any doctor who may be in- 
competent as to the provision made for 
the men's health, and the doctor must be 
authorized to represent the dangers of a 
bad encampment without being liable to 
a recommendation to keep his opinion to 
himself till he is asked for it. These par- 
ticular dangers are best obviated by the 
appointment of sanitary officers, to attend 
the forces, and take charge of the health 
of the army, as the physicians and sur- 
geons take charge of its sickness. If, be- 
sides, there is a separate department be- 
tween the commissariat and the soldiery, 
to see that the comforts provided are ac- 


Health in the Camp. 


tually brouglit wltbin every man's grasp, 
the authorities -will have done their part. 

The rest is the soldier's own concern. 
AVhen cruelly pressed by hardship, the 
soldiers in Turkey and the Crimea took 
to drinking ; and what they drank was 
poison. The vile raki with which they 
intoxicated themselves carried hundreds 
to the grave as surely as arsenic would 
have done. When, at last, they were 
well fed, warm, clean, and comfortable, 
and well amused in the coffee-houses 
opened for them, there was an end, or a 
vast diminution, of the evil of drunken- 
ness. Good cojffee and harmless luxuries 
were sold to them at cost price ; and books 
and magazines and newspapers, chess, 
draughts, and other games, were at their 
command. The American soldiery are 
a more cultivated set of men than these, 
and are in proportion more inexcusable 
for any resort to intemperance. They 
ought to have neither the external dis- 
comfort nor the internal vacuity which 
have caused drunkenness in other ar- 
mies. The resort to strong drinks so 
prevalent in the Americans is an ever- 
lasting mystery to Europeans, who recog- 
nize in them a self-governing people, uni- 
versally educated up to a capacity for in- 
tellectual interests such as are elsewhere 
found to be a safeguard against intem- 
perance in drink. If the precautions in- 
stituted by the authorities are well sup- 
ported by the volunteers themselves, the 
most fatal of all perils will be got rid of. 
If not, the army will perish by a veri- 
table suicide. But such a fate cannot be 
in store for such an army. 

There is something else almost as in- 
dispensable to the health of soldiers as 
sobriety, and that is subordination. The 
true, magnanimous, patriotic spirit of sub- 
ordination is not more necessary to mili- 
tary achievement than it is to the per- 
sonal composure and the trustworthiness 
of nerve of the individual soldier. A 
strong desire and fixed habit of obedience 
to command relieve a man of all inter- 
nal conflict between self-will and circum- 
stance, and give him possession of his 
full powers of action and endurance. If 

absolute reliance on authority is a ne- 
cessity to the great majority of mankind, 
(which it is,) it is to the few wisest and 
strongest a keen enjoyment when they 
can righteously indulge in it ; and the oc- 
casion on which it is supremely a duty — 
in the case of military or naval service — 
is one of privilege. Americans are less 
accustomed than others to prompt and 
exact obedience, being a self-governing 
and unmilitary nation : and they may re- 
quire some time to become aware of the 
privileges of subordination to command. 
But time will satisfy them of the truth ; 
and those who learn the lesson most quick- 
ly will be the most sensible of the advan- 
tage to health of body, through ease of 
mind. The abdication of self-will in re- 
gard to the ordering of affairs, the repose 
of reliance upon the responsible parties, 
the exercise of silent endurance about 
hardships and fatigues, the self-respect 
which relishes the honor of cooperation 
through obedience, the sense of patriotic 
devotedness which glows through every 
act of submission to command, — all these 
elevated feelings tend to composure of 
the nerves, to the fortifying of brain and 
limb, and the genial repose and exalta- 
tion of all the powers of mind and body. 
I need not contrast with this the case of 
the discontented and turbulent volunteer, 
questioning commands which he is not 
qualified to judge of, and complaining of 
troubles which cannot be helped. It is 
needless to show what wear-and-tear is 
caused by such a spirit, and how nerve 
and strength must, in such a case, fail in 
the hour of effort or of crisis, and give 
way at once before the assault of disease. 
By the aid. of sobriety and the calm and 
cheerful subordination of the true mili- 
tary character, the health of the Federal 
army may be equal to its high mission : 
and all friends of human freedom, in all 
lands, must heartily pray that it may be 

There is another department of the 
subject which I propose to treat of an- 
other month: "Health in the Military 

1861.] ''The Stormy PetreV 581 


Where the gray crags beat back the northern main, 

And all around, the ever restless waves, 

Like white sea-wolves, howl on the lonely sands. 

Clings a low roof, close by the sounding surge. 

If, in your summer rambles by the shore, 

His spray-tost cottage you may chance espy, 

Enter and greet the blind old mariner. 

Full sixty winters he has watched beside 
The turbulent ocean, with one purpose warmed : 
To rescue drowning men. And round the coast — 
For so his comrades named him in his youth — 
They know him as " The Stormy Petrel" still. 

Once he was lightning-swift, and strong ; his eyes 
Peered through the dark, and far discerned the wreck 
Plunged on the reef. Then with bold speed he flew. 
The life-boat launched, and dared the smiting rocks. 

'T is said by those long dwelling near his door. 
That hundreds have been storm-saved by his arm ; 
That never was he known to sleep, or. lag 
In-doors, when danger swept the seas. His life 
Was given to toil, his strength to perilous blasts. 
In freezing floods when tempests hurled the deep. 
And battling winds clashed in their icy caves. 
Scared housewives, waking, thought of him, and said, 
" ' The Stormy Petrel ' is abroad to-night, 
And watches from th§ cliffs." 

He could not rest 
When shipwrecked forms might gasp amid the waves. 
And not a cry be answered from the shore. 

Now Heaven has quenched his sight ; but when he hears 

By his lone hearth the sullen sea-winds clang, 

Or listens, in the mad, wild, drowning night. 

As younger footsteps hurry o'er the beach 

To pluck the sailor from his sharp-fanged death, — 

The old man starts, with generous impulse thrilled, 

And, with the natural habit of his heart, 

Calls to his neighbors in a cheery tone. 

Tells them he '11 pilot toward the signal guns, 

And then, remembering all his weight of years, 

Sinks on his couch, and weeps that he is blind. 


A Story of To-Day, 




Margaret stood looking down in her 
quiet way at the sloping moors and fog. 
She, too, had her place and work. She 
thought that night she saw it clearly, and 
kept her eyes fixed on it, as I said. They 
plodded steadily down the wide years 
opening before her. Whatever slow, un- 
ending work lay in them, whatever hun- 
gry loneliness they held for her heart, or 
coarseness of deed, she saw it all, shrink- 
ing from nothing. She looked at the tense 
blue -corded veins in her wrist, full of 
fine pure blood, — gauged herself coolly, 
her lease of life, her power of endurance, 
— measured it out against the work wait- 
ing for her. The work would be long, she 
knew. She would be old before it was 
finished, quite an old woman, hard, me- 
chanical, worn out. But the day would 
be so bright, when it came, it would atone 
for all : the day would be bright, the home 
warm again ; it would hold all that life 
had promised her of good. 

All ? Oh, Margaret, Margaret ! Was 
there no sullen doubt in the brave re- 
solve ? Was there no shadow rose just 
then, dark, ironical, blotting out father 
and mother and home, coming nearer, 
less alien to your soul than these, than 
even your God? 

If any such cold, masterful shadow rose 
out of years gone, and clutched at the 
truest life of her heart, she stifled it, and 
thrust it down. And yet, leaning on the 
gate, and thinking drearily, vacantly, she 
remembered a time when God came near- 
er to her than He did now, and came 
through that shadow, — when, by the help 
of that dead hope. He of whom she read 
to-night came close, an infinitely tender 
Helper, who, with the human love that 
was in her heart to-day, had loved his 
mother and John and Mary. Now, strug- 
gle as she would for healthy hopes and 
warmth, the world was gray and silent. 
Her defeated woman's nature called it so, 
bitterly. Christ was a dim ideal power, 

heaven far-ofi". She doubted if it held any- 
thing as real as that which she had losi;. 

As if to bring back the old times 
more vividly to her, there happened one 
of those curious little coincidences with 
which Fate, we think, has nothing to 
do. She heard a quick step along the 
clay road, and a muddy little terrier 
jumped up, barking, beside her. She 
stopped with a suddenness strange in her 
slow movements. " Tiger I " she said, 
stroking its head with passionate eager- 
ness. The dog licked her hand, smelt 
her clothes to know if she were the same : 
it was two years since he had seen her. 
She sat there, softly stroking him. Pres- 
ently there was a sound of wheels jog- 
ging down the road, and a voice singing 
snatches of some song, one of those cheery 
street-songs that the boys whistle. It 
was a low, weak voice, but very pleasant. 
Margaret heard it through the dark ; she 
kissed the dog with a strange paleness 
on her face, and stood up, quiet, attentive 
as before. Tiger still kept licking her 
hand, as it hung by her side : it was cold, 
and trembled as he touched it. She 
waited a moment, then pushed the dog 
from her, as if his touch, even, caused her 
to break some vow. He whined, but she 
hurried away, not waiting to know how 
he came, or with whom. Perhaps, if Dr. 
Knowles had seen her face as she looked 
back at him, he would have thought there 
were depths in her nature which his prob- 
ing eyes had never reached. 

The wheels came close, and directly a 
cart stopped at the gate. It was one of 
those little wagons that hucksters drive ; 
only this seemed to be a home-made affair, 
patched up with wicker-work and bits of 
board. It was piled up with baskets of 
vegetables, eggs, and chickens, and on a 
broken bench in the middle sat the driver, 
a woman. You could not help laughing, 
when you looked at the whole turn-out, 
it had such a make-shift look altogether. 


A Story of To-Bay. 


The reins were twisted rope, the wheels 
uneven. It went jolting along in such a 
careless, jolly way, as if it would not care 
in the least, should it go to pieces any min- 
ute just there in the road. The donkey 
that drew it was bony and blind of one 
eye ; but he winked the other knowingly 
at you, as if to ask if you saw the joke of 
the thing. Even the voice of the owner 
of the establishment, chirruping some idle 
song, as I told you, was one of the cheer- 
iest sounds you ever heard. Joel, up at 
tlie barn, forgot his dignity to salute it 
with a prolonged " Hillo ! " and present- 
ly appeared at the gate. 

" I 'm late, Joel," said the weak voice. 
It sounded like a child's near at hand. 

" We can trade in the dark, Lois, both 
bein' honest," he responded, graciously, 
hoisting a basket of tomatoes into the 
cart, and taking out a jug of vinegar. 

" Is that Lois ? " said Mrs. Howth, com- 
ing to the gate. " Sit still, child. Don't 
get down." 

But the child, as she called her, had 
scrambled off the cart, and stood beside 
her, leaning on the wheel, for she was 
helplessly crippled. 

" I thought you would be down to- 
night. I put some coffee on the stove. 
Bring it out, Joel." 

Mrs. Howth never put up the shield 
between herself and this member of " the 
class," — because, perhaps, she was so 
wretchedly low in the social scale. How- 
ever, I suppose she never gave a reason 
for it even to herself. Nobody could help 
being kind to Lois, even if he tried. Joel 
brought the coffee with more readiness 
than he would have waited on Mrs. Howth. 

" Barney will be jealous," he said, pat- 
ting the bare ribs of the old donkey, and 
glancing wistfully at his mistress. 

" Give him his supper, surely," she said, 
taking the hint. 

It was a real treat to see how Lois en- 
joyed her supper, sipping and tasting the 
warm coffee, her face in a glow, like an 
epicure over some rare Falernian. You 
would be sure, from just that little thing, 
that no sparkle of warmth or pleasure in 
the world slipped by her which she did 

not catch and enjoy and be thankful for 
to the uttermost. You would think, per- 
haps, pitifully, that not much pleasure or 
warmth would ever go down so low, with- 
in her reach. Now that she stood on the 
ground, she scarcely came up to the level 
of the wheel ; some deformity of her legs 
made her walk with a curious rolling jerk, 
very comical to see. She laughed at it, 
when other people did ; if it vexed her at 
all, she never showed it. She had turn- 
ed back her calico sun-bonnet, and stood 
looking up at Mrs. Howth and Joel, laugh- 
ing as they talked with her. The face 
would have startled you on so old and 
stunted a body. It was a child's face, 
quick, eager, with that pitiful beauty you 
always see in deformed people. Her eyes, 
I think, were the kindliest, the hopefullest 
I ever saw. Nothing but the pale thick- 
ness of her skin betrayed the fact that set 
Lois apart from even the poorest poor, — 
the taint in her veins of black blood. 

" Whoy ! be n't this Tiger ? " said Joel, 
as the dog ran yelping about him. " How 
comed yoh with him, Lois ? " 

" Tiger an' his master 's good friends 
o* mine, — you remember they alius was. 
An* he 's back now, Mr. Holmes, — been 
back for a month." 

Margaret, walking in the porch with 
her father, stopped. 

" Are you tired, father ? It is late." 

" And you are worn out, poor child ! 
It was selfish in me to forget. Good- 
night, dear ! " 

Margaret kissed him, laughing cheer- 
fully, as she led him to his room-door. 
He lingered, holding her dress. 

" Perhaps it will be easier for you to- 
morrow than it was to-day ? " hesitating. 

" I am sure it will. To-morrow will 
be sure to be better than to-day." 

She left him, and went away with a 
slow step that did not echo the promise 
of her words. 

Joel, meanwhile, consulted apart with 
his mistress. 

" Of course," she said, emphatically. 
— "You must stay until morning, Lois. 
It is too late. Joel will toss you up a 
bed in the loft." 


A Story of To-Day. 


The queer little body hesitated. 

" I can stay," she said, at last. " It 's 
his watch at the mill to-night." 

" Whose watch ? " demanded Joeh 

Her face brightened. 

" Father's. He 's back, mum." 

Joel caught himself in a whistle. 

" He 's very stiddy, Joel, — as stiddy 
as yoh." 

" I am very glad he has come back, 
Lois," said Mrs. Howth, gravely. 

At every place where Lois had been 
that day she had told her bit of good 
news, and at every place it had been met 
with the same kindly smile and " I 'm glad 
he 's back, Lois." 

Yet Joe Yare, fresh from two years in 
the penitentiary, was not exactly the per- 
son whom society usually welcomes with 
open arms. Lois had a vague suspicion 
of this, perhaps ; for, as she hobbled along 
the path, she added to her own assurance 
of his " stiddiness " earnest explanations 
to Joel of how he had a place in the Croft 
Street woollen-mills, and how Dr. Knowles 
had said he was as ready a stoker as any 
in the furnace-rooms. 

The sound of her weak, eager voice was 
silent presently, and nothing broke the 
quiet and cold of the night. Even the 
morning, when it came long after, came 
quiet and cool, — the warm red dawn 
helplessly smothered under great waves 
of gray cloud. Margaret, looking out in- 
to the thick fog, lay down wearily again, 
closing her eyes. What was the day to 

Very slowly the night was driven back. 
An hour after, when she lifted her head 
again, the stars were still glittering through 
the foggy arch, like sparks of brassy blue, 
and the sky and hills and valleys were 
one drifting, slow-heaving mass of ashy 
damp. Off" in the east a stifled red film 
groped through. It was another day 
coming; she might as well get up, and 
live the rest of her life out; — what else 
had she to do ? 

Whatever this night had been to the 
girl, it left one thought sharp, alive, in the 
exhausted quiet of her brain : a cowardly 
dread of the trial of the day, when she 

would see him again. Was the old strug- 
gle of years before coming back ? Was 
it all to go over again ? She was worn 
out. She had been quiet in these two 
years : what had gone before she nev- 
er looked back upon; but it made her 
thankful for even this stupid quiet. And 
now, when she had planned her life, busy 
and useful and contented, why need God 
have sent the old thought to taunt her ? 
A wild, sickening sense of what might 
have been struggled up : she thrust it 
down, — she had kept it down all night; 
the old pain should not come back, — it 
should not. She did not think of the 
love she had given up as a dream, as 
verse -makers or sham people do; she 
knew it to be the reality of her life. She 
cried for it even now, with all the fierce 
strength of her nature ; it was the best 
she knew ; through it she came nearest 
to God. Thinking of the day when she 
had given it up, she remembered it with 
a vague consciousness of having fought 
a deadly struggle with her fate, and that 
she had been conquered, — never had 
lived again. Let it be ; she could not 
bear the struggle again. 

She went on dressing herself in a drea- 
ry, mechanical way. Once, a bitter laugh 
came on her face, as she looked into the 
glass, and saw the dead, dull eyes, and 
the wrinkle on her forehead. Was that 
the face to be crowned with delicate ca- 
resses and love? She scorned herself 
for the moment, grew sick of herself, 
balked, thwarted in her true life as she 
was. Other women whom God has loved 
enough to probe to the depths of their 
nature have done the same, — saw them- 
selves as others saw them : their strength 
drying up within them, jeered at, utterly 
alone. It is a trial we laugh at. I think 
the quick fagots at the stake were fitter 
subjects for laughter than the slow gnaw- 
ing hunger in the heart of many a slight- 
ed woman or a selfish man. They come 
out of the trial as out of martyrdom, ac- 
cording to their faith : you see its marks 
sometimes in a frivolous old age going 
down with tawdry hopes and starved eyes 
to the grave ; you see its victory in the 


A Story of To-Day. 


freshest, fullest lives in the earth. This 
■woman had accepted her trial, but she 
took it up as an inflexible fate which she 
did not understand ; it was new to her ; 
its solitude, its hopeless thirst were freshly 
bitter. She loathed herself as one whom 
God had thought unworthy of every wom- 
an's right, — to love and be loved. 

She went to the window, looking blank- 
ly out into the gray cold. Any one with 
keen analytic eye, noting the thin muscles 
of this woman, the childish, scarlet lips, 
the eyes deep, concealing, would have 
foretold that she would conquer in the tri- 
al, that she would force her soul down, — 
but that the forcing down would leave the 
weak, flaccid body spent and dead. One 
thing was certain : no curious eyes would 
see the struggle ; the body might be nerve- 
less or sickly, but it had the great power 
of reticence ; the calm with which she 
faced the closest gaze was natural to her, 
— no mask. When she left her room 
and went down, the same unaltered quiet 
that had baffled Knowles steadied her 
step and cooled her eyes. 

After you have made a sacrifice of 
yourself for others, did you ever notice 
how apt you were to doubt, as soon as 
the deed was irrevocable, whether, after 
all, it were worth while to have done 
it ? How poor seems the good gained ! 
How new and unimagined the agony of 
empty hands and stifled wish! Very 
slow the angels are, sometimes, that are 
sent to minister I 

Margaret, going down the stairs that 
morning, found none of the chivalric un- 
selfish glow of the night before in her 
home. It was an old, bare house in the 
midst of dreary moors, in which her life 
was slowly to be worn out : that was all. 
It did not matter ; life was short : she 
could thank God for that at least. 

She opened the house-door. A draught 
of cold morning air struck her face, sweep- 
ing from the west ; it had driven the fog 
in great gray banks upon the hills, or in 
shimmering broken swamps into the cleft 
hollows : a vague twilight filled the space 
left bare. Tiger, asleep in the hall, rush- 
ed out into the meadow, barking, wild 

with the freshness and cold, then back 
again to tear round her for a noisy good- 
morning. The touch of the dog seemed 
to bring her closer to his master; she 
put him away ; she dared not sufler even 
that treachery to her purpose : because, 
in fact, the very circumstances that had 
forced her to give him up made it weak 
cowardice to turn again. It was a sim- 
ple story, yet one which she dared not 
tell to herself; for it was not altogether 
for her father's sake she had made the 
sacrifice. She knew, that, though she 
might be near to this man Holmes as 
his own soul, she was a clog on him, — 
stood in his way, — kept him back. So 
she had quietly stood aside, taken up her 
own solitary burden, and left him with 
his clear self-reliant life, — with his Self, 
dearer to him than she had ever been. 
Why should it not be ? she thought, — re- 
membering the man as he was, a master 
among men. He was back again ; she 
must see him. So she stood there with 
this persistent dread running through her 

Suddenly, in the lane by the house, she 
heard a voice talking to Joel, — the huck- 
ster-girl. What a weak, cheery sound it 
was in the cold and fog ! It touched her cu- 
riously : broke through her morbid thought 
as anything true and healthy would have 
done. " Poor Lois ! " she thought, with an 
eager pity, forgetting her own intolerable 
future for the moment, as she gathered 
up some breakfast and went with it down 
the lane. Morning had come ; great 
heavy bars of light fell from behind the 
hills athwart the banks of gray and black 
fog ; there was shifting, uneasy, obstinate 
tumult among the shadows ; they did not 
mean to yield to the coming dawn. The 
hills, the massed woods, the mist opposed 
their immovable front, scornfully. Mar- 
garet did not notice the silent contest un- 
til she reached the lane. The girl Lois, 
sitting in her cart, was looking, quiet, at- 
tentive, at the slow surge of the shadows, 
and the slower lifting of the slanted rays. 

" T' mornin' comes grand here, Miss 
Marg'et!" she said, lowering her voice. 

Margaret said nothing in reply; the 


A Story of To-Day. 


morning, she thought, was gray and cold, 
as her own life. She stood leaning on 
the low cart ; some strange sympathy- 
drew her to this poor wretch, dwarfed, 
alone in the world, — some tie of equal- 
ity, which the odd childish face, nor the 
quaint air of content about the creature, 
did not lessen. Even when Lois shook 
down the patched skirt of her flannel 
frock straight, and settled the heaps of 
corn and tomatoes about her, preparatory 
for a start, Margaret kept her hand on 
the side of the cart, and walked slowly 
by it down the road. Once, looking at 
the girl, she thought with a half smile 
how oddly clean she was. The flannel 
skirt she arranged so complacently had 
been washed until the colors had run 
madly into each other in sheer despera- 
tion ; her hair was knotted with a relent- 
less tightness into a comb such as old 
women wear. The very cart, patched as 
it was, had a snug, cozy look ; the masses 
of vegetables, green and crimson and scar- 
let, were heaped with a certain reference 
to the glow of color, Margaret noticed, 
wondering if it were accidental. Look- 
ing up, she saw the girl's brown eyes fix- 
ed on her face. They were singularly 
soft, brooding brown. 

« Ye 'r' goin' to th' mill. Miss Marg'et ? " 
she asked, in a half whisper. 

" Yes. You never go there now, 

" No, 'm." 

The girl shuddered, and then tried to 
hide it in a laugh. Margaret walked on 
beside her, her hand on the cart's edge. 
Somehow this creature, that Nature had 
thrown impatiently aside as a failure, so 
marred, imperfect, that even the dogs 
were kind to her, came strangely near 
to her, claimed recognition by some sub- 
tile instinct. 

Partly for this, and partly striving to 
forget herself, she glanced furtively at 
the childish face of the distorted little 
body, wondering what impression the 
shifting dawn made on the unfinished 
soul that was looking out so intently 
through the brown eyes. What artist 
sense had she, — what could she know — 

the ignorant huckster — of the eternal 
laws of beauty or grandeur ? Nothing. 
Yet something in the girl's face made her 
think that these hills, this air and sky, 
were in fact alive to her, — real ; that 
her soul, being lower, it might be, than 
ours, lay closer to Nature, knew the lan- 
guage of the changing day, of these ear- 
nest-faced hills, of the very worms crawl- 
ing through the brown mould. It was 
an idle fancy ; Margaret laughed at her- 
self for it, and turned to watch the slow 
morning - struggle which Lois followed 
with such eager eyes. 

The light was conquering, growing 
stronger. Up the gray arch the soft, 
dewy blue crept gently, deepening, broad- 
ening ; below it, the level bars of light 
struck full on the sullen black of the 
west, and worked there undaunted, tin- 
ging it with crimson and imperial pur- 
ple. Two or three coy mist-clouds, soon 
converted to the new allegiance, drifted 
giddily about, mere flakes of rosy blushes. 
The victory of the day came slowly, but 
sure, and then the full morning flushed 
out, fresh with moisture and light and del- 
icate perfume. The bars of sunlight fell 
on the lower earth from the steep hills 
like pointed swords ; the foggy swamp of 
wet vapor trembled and broke, so touch- 
ed, rose at last, leaving patches of damp 
brilliance on the fields, and floated ma- 
jestically up in radiant victor clouds, led 
by the conquering wind. Victory : it was 
in the cold, pure ether filling the heavens, 
in the solemn gladness of the hills. The 
great forests thrilling in the soft light, 
the very sleepy river wakening under the 
mist, chorded in with a grave bass to the 
rising anthem of welcome to the new life 
which God had freshly given to the world. 
From the sun himself, come forth as a 
bridegroom from his chamber, to the 
flickering raindrops on the road -side 
mullein, the world seemed to rejoice 
exultant in victory. Homely, cheerier 
sounds broke the outlined grandeur of 
the morning, on which Margaret looked 
wearily. Lois lost none of them ; no mor- 
bid shadow of her own balked fife kept 
their meaning from her. 


A Story of To-Day. 


The light played on the heaped vege- 
tables in the old cart ; the bony legs of 
the donkey trotted on with fresh vigor. 
There was not a lowing cow in the distant 
barns, nor a chirping swallow on the 
fence-bushes, that did not seem to include 
the eager face of the little huckster in 
their morning greetings. Not a golden 
dandelion on the road-side, not a gurgle 
of the plashing brown water from the 
well-troughs, which did not give a quicker 
pleasure to the glowing face. Its curious 
content stung the woman walking by her 
side. What secret of recompense had 
this poor wretch found? 

" Your father is here, Lois," she said 
carelessly, to break the silence. " I saw 
him at the mill yesterday." 
Her face kindled instantly. 
" He 's home. Miss Marg'et, — yes. 
An' it 's all right wid him. Things alius 
do come right, some time," she added, in 
a reflective tone, brushing a fly off Saw- 
ney's ear. 

Margaret smiled. 

" Always ? Who brings them right 
for you, Lois ? " 

" The Master," she said, turning with 
an answering smile. 

Margaret was touched. The owner of 
the mill was not a more real verity to 
this girl than the Master of whom she 
spoke with such quiet knowledge. 

" Are things right in the mill ? " she 
said, testing her. 

A shadow came on her face ; her eyes 
wandered uncertainly, as if her weak 
brain were confused, — only for a mo- 

" They '11 come right ! " she said, brave- 
ly. " The Master '11 see to it ! " 

But the light was gone from her eyes ; 
some old pain seemed to be surging 
through her narrow thought ; and when 
she began to talk, it was in a bewildered, 
doubtful way. 

" It 's a black place, th' mill," she said, 
in a low voice. " It was a good while 
I was there : frum seven year old till six- 
teen. 'T seemed longer t' me 'n 't was. 
'T seemed as if I 'd been there alius, — 
jcs' forever, yoh know. Tore I went in, 

I had the rickets, they say : that 's what 
ails me. 'T hurt my head, they 've told me, 
— made me different frum other folks." 

She stopped a moment, with a dumb, 
hungry look in her eyes. After a while 
she looked at Margaret furtively, with a 
pitiful eagerness. 

" Miss Marg'et, I think there is some- 
thing wrong in my head. Did yoh ever 
notice it ? " 

Margaret put her hand kindly on the 
broad, misshapen forehead. 

" Something is wrong everywhere, Lo- 
is," she said, absently. 

She did not see the slow sigh with 
which the gn4 smothered down whatever 
hope had risen just then, nor the wistful 
look of the brown eyes that brightened 
into bravery after a while. 

*' It '11 come right," she said, steadily, 
though her voice was lower than before. 

"But the mill," — Margaret recalled 

" Th' mill, — yes. There was three of 
us, — father 'n' mother 'n' me, — 'n' pay 
was poor. They said times was hard. 
They was hard times. Miss Marg'et ! " 
she said, with a nervous laugh, the brown 
eyes strangely wandering. 

" Yes, hard," — she soothed her, gent- 

" Pay was poor, 'n' many things tuk 
money." (Remembering the girl's moth- 
er, Margaret knew gin would have cov- 
ered the " many things.") " Worst to 
■ me was th' mill. I kind o' grew into 
that place in them years : seemed to me 
like as I was part o' th' engines, some- 
how. Th' air used to be thick in my 
mouth, black wi' smoke 'n' wool 'n' smells. 
It 's better now there. I got stunted 
then, yoh know. 'N' th' air in th' alleys 
was worse, where we slep'. I think meb- 
be as 't was then I went wrong in my 
head. Miss Marg'et ! " 

Her voice went lower. 

" 'T is n't easy to think o' th' Master- 
down tJiere, in them cellars. Things comes 
right — slow there, — slow." 

Her eyes grew stupid, as if looking 
down into some dreary darkness. 

"But the mill?" 


A Story of To-Day. 


The girl roused herself with a sharp 

"In them years I got dazed in my 
head, I think. 'T was th' air 'n' th' work. 
I was weak alius. 'T got so that th' noise 
o' th' looms went on in my head night 'n' 
day, — alius thud, thud. 'N' hot days, 
when th' hands was chaffin' *n' singin', 
th* black wheels 'n' rollers was alive, star- 
in' down at me, 'n' th' shadders o' th' looms 
was Hke snakes creepin', — creepin' anear 
all th' time. They was very good to me, 
th' hands was, — very good. Ther' 's 
lots o' th' Master's people down there, out 
o* sight, that 's so low they never heard His 
name : preachers don't go there. But 
He '11 see to 't. He '11 not min' their 
cursin' o' Him, seein' they don't know 
His face, 'n' thinkin' He belongs to th' 
gentry. I knew it wud come right wi' 
me, when times was th' most bad. I 
knew " 

The girl was trembling now with ex- 
citement, her hands working together, 
her eyes set, all the slow years of ruin 
that had eaten into her brain rising be- 
fore her, all the tainted blood in her 
veins of centuries of slavery and heathen- 
ism struggling to drag her down. But 
above all, the Hope rose clear, simple : 
the trust in the Master : and shone in 
her scarred face, — through her marred 

" I knew it wud come right, alius. I 
was alone then : mother was dead, and 
father was gone, 'n' th' Lord thought 't 
was time to see to me, — special as th' over- 
seer was gettin' me an enter to th' poor- 
house. So He sent Mr. Holmes along. 
Then it come right I " 

Margaret did not speak. Even this 
mill-girl could talk of him, pray for him ; 
but she never must take his name on her 

" He got th' cart fur me, 'n' this bless- 
ed old donkey, 'n' my room. Did yoh 
ever see my room, Miss Marg'et ? " 

Her face lighted suddenly with its pe- 
culiar childlike smile. 

" No ? Yoh '11 come some day, surely ? 
It 's a pore place, yoh '11 think ; but it 's 
got th' air, — th' air." 

She stopped to breathe the cold morn- 
ing wind, as if she thought to find in its 
fierce freshness the life and brains she 
had lost. 

" Ther' 's places in them alleys V 
dark holes. Miss Marg'et, like th' openin's 
to hell, with th' thick smells 'n' th' sights 
yoh 'd see." 

She went back with a terrible cling- 
ing pity to the Gehenna from which she 
had escaped. The ill of life was real 
enough to her, — a hungry devil down 
in those alleys and dens. Margaret lis- 
tened, waking to the sense of a differ- 
ent pain in the world from her own, — 
lower deeps from which women like her- 
self draw delicately back, lifting their 
gauzy dresses. 

" Openin's to hell, they 're like. Peo- 
ple as come down to preach in them think 
that, 'pears to me, — 'n' think we 've but a 
little way to go, bein' born so near. It 's 
easy to tell they thinks it, — shows in 
their looks. Miss Marg'et ! " 

Her face flashed. 

"Well, Lois?" 

" Th' Master has His people 'mong 
them very lowest, that 's not for such as 
yoh to speak to. He knows 'em : men 
'n' women starved 'n' drunk into jails 
'n' work-houses, that 'd scorn to be cow- 
ardly or mean, — that shows God's kind- 
ness, through th' whiskey 'n' thievin', to 
th' orphints or — such as me. Ther 's 
things th' Master likes in them, 'n' it 'II 
come right," she sobbed, " it '11 come right 
at last ; they '11 have a chance — some- 

Margaret did not speak ; let the poor 
girl sob herself into quiet. What had 
she to do with this gulf of pain and 
wrong ? Her own higher life was starv- 
ed, thwarted. Could it be that the blood 
of these her brothers called against her 
from the ground ? No wonder that the 
huckster-girl sobbed, she thought, or talk- 
ed heresy. It was not an easy thing to 
see a mother drink herself into the grave. 
And yet — was she to blame ? Her Vir- 
ginian blood was cool, high-bred ; she 
had learned conservatism in her cradle. 
Her life in the West had not yet quicken- 


A Story of To-Bay. 


C(l her pulse. So she put aside whatev- 
er social mystery or wrong faced her in 
this girl, just as you or I would have done. 
She had her own pain to bear. Was she 
her brother's keeper ? It was true, there 
was wrong ; this woman's soul lay shat- 
tered by it ; it was the fault of her blood, 
of her birth, and Society had finished the 
work. Where was the help ? She was 
free, — and liberty, Dr. Knowles said, 
was the cure for all the soul's diseases, 

Well, Lois was quiet now, — ready 
with her childish smile to be drawn into 
a dissertation on Barney's vices and vir- 
tues, or a description of her room, where 
"th' air was so strong, 'n' the fruit 'n' 
vegetables alius stayed fresh, — best in 
this town," she said, with a bustling pride. 

They went on down the road, through 
the corn-fields sometimes, or on the riverr 
bank, or sometimes skirting the orchards 
or barn-yards of the farms. The fences 
were well built, she noticed, — the barns 
wide and snug-looking : for this county 
in Indiana is settled by New England 
people, as a general thing, or Pennsylva- 
nians. They both leave their mark on 
barns or fields, I can tell you ! The two 
women were talking all the way. In all 
his life Dr. Knowles had never heard 
from this silent girl words as open and 
eager as she gave to the huckster about 
paltry, common things, — partly, as I said, 
from a hope to forget herself, and partly 
from a vague curiosity to know the strange 
world which opened before her in this 
disjointed talk. There were no morbid 
shadows in this Lois's life, she saw. Her 
pains and pleasures were intensely real, 
like those of her class. If there were la- 
tent powers in her distorted brain, smoth- 
ered by hereditary vice of blood, or foul 
air and life, she knew nothing of it. She 
never probed her own soul with fierce 
self-scorn, as this quiet woman by her 
side did; — accepted, instead, the passing 
moment, with keen enjoyment. For the 
rest, childishly trusted " the Master." 

This very drive, now, for instance, — 
although she and the cart and Barney 
went through the same routine every day. 

you would have thought it was a new treat 
for a special holiday, if you had seen the 
perfect abandon with which they all threw 
themselves into the fun of the thing. 
Not only did the very heaps of ruby to- 
matoes, and corn in delicate green cas- 
ings, tremble and shine as though they 
enjoyed the fresh light and dew, but the 
old donkey cocked his ears, and curved 
his scraggy neck, and tried to look as 
like a high-spirited charger as he could. 
Then everybody along the road knew 
Lois, and she knew everybody, and there 
was a mutual liking and perpetual joking, 
not very refined, perhaps, but hearty and 
kind. It was a new side of life for Mar- 
garet. She had no time for thoughts of 
self-sacrifice, or chivalry, ancient or mod- 
ern, watching it. It was a very busy 
ride, — something to do at every farm- 
house : a basket of eggs to be taken in, 
or some egg-plants, maybe, which Lois 
laid side by side, Margaret noticed, — the 
pearly white balls close to the heap of roy- 
al purple. No matter how small the bas- 
ket was that she stopped for, it brought 
out two or three to put it in ; for Lois and 
her cart were the event of the day for 
the lonely farm-houses. The wife would 
come out, her face ablaze from the oven, 
with an anxious charge about that butter ; 
the old man would hail her from the barn 
to know " ef she 'd thought toh look in 
th' mail yes'rday " ; and one or the other 
was sure to add, " Jes' time for breakfast, 
Lois." If she had no baskets to stop for, 
she had " a bit o' business," which turned 
out to be a paper she had brought for the 
grandfather, or some fresh mint for the 
baby, or "jes' to inquire fur th' fam'ly." 
As to the amount that cart carried, it 
was a perpetual mystery to Lois. Every 
day since she and the cart went into part- 
nership, she had gone into town with a 
dead certainty in the minds of lookers-on 
that it would break down in five minutes, 
and a triumphant faith in hers in its un- 
limited endurance. " This cart '11 be right 
side up fur years to come," she would as- 
sert, shaking her head. " It 's got no more 
notion o' givin' up than me nor Barney,' — 
not a bit." Margaret had her doubts, — 


A Story of To-Day. 


and so would you, if you had heard how 
it creaked under the load, — how they 
piled in great straw panniers of apples : 
black apples with yellow hearts, — scarlet 
veined, golden pippin apples, that held 
the warmth and light longest, — russet 
apples with a hot blush on their rough 
brown skins, — plums shining coldly in 
their delicate purple bloom, — peaches 
with the crimson velvet of their cheeks 
aglow with the prisoned heat of a hun- 
dred summer days. 

I wish with all my heart some artist 
would paint me Lois and her cart I Mr. 
Kitts, the artist in the city then, used to 
see it going past his room out by the 
coal-pits every day, and thought about it 
seriously. But he had his grand battle- 
piece on hand then, — and after that he 
went the way of all geniuses, and died 
down into colorer for a photographer. He 
met them, that day, out by the stone quar- 
ry, and touched his hat as he returned Lo- 
is's " Good-morning," and took a couple 
of great papaws from her. She was a 
woman, you see, and he had some of the 
schoolmaster's old-fashioned notions about 
women. He was a sickly-looking soul. 
One day Lois had heard him say that there 
were papaws on his mother's place in 
Ohio ; so after that she always brought 
him some every day. She was one of 
those people who must give, if it is noth- 
ing better than a Kentucky banana. 

After they passed the stone quarry, 
they left the country behind them, going 
down the stubble-covered hills that fenced 
in the town. Even in the narrow streets, 
and through the warehouses, the strong, 
dewy air had quite blown down and off 
the fog and dust. Morning (town morn- 
ing, to be sure, but still morning) was 
shining in the red window-panes, in the 
tossing smoke up in the frosty air, in 
the very glowing faces of people hurry- 
ing from market with their noses nipped 
blue and their eyes watering with cold. 
Lois and her cart, fresh with country 
breath hanging about them, were not 
so out of place, after all. House-maids 
left the steps half-scrubbed, and helped 
her measure out the corn and beans. 

gossiping eagerly ; the newsboys " Hi-d ! " 
at her in a friendly, patronizing way; 
women in rusty black, with sharp, pale 
faces, hoisted their baskets, in which usu- 
ally lay a scraggy bit of flitch, on to the 
wheel, their whispered bargaining ending 
oftenest in a low " Thank ye, Lois ! "—for 
she sold cheaper to some people than 
they did in the market. 

Lois was Lois In town or country. Some 
subtile power lay in the coarse, distorted 
body, in the pleading child's face, to rouse, 
wherever they went, the same curious, 
kindly smile. Not, I think, that dumb, 
pathetic eye, common to deformity, that 
cries, " Have mercy upon me, O my 
friend, for the hand of God hath touched 
me ! " — a deeper, mightier charm, rather: 
a trust down in the fouled fragments of her 
brain, even in the bitterest hour of her 
bare, wretched life,— a faith, faith in God, 
faith in her fellow-man, faith in herself. 
No human soul refused to answer its sum- 
mons. Down in the dark alleys, in the 
very vilest of the black and white wretch- 
es that crowded sometimes about her cart, 
there was an undefined sense of pride in 
protecting this wretch whose portion of 
life was more meagre and low than theirs. 
Something in them struggled up to meet 
the trust in the pitiful eyes, — something 
which scorned to betray the trust, — some 
Christ-like power, smothered, dying, un- 
der the filth of their life and the terror 
of hell. Not lost. If the Great Spirit of 
love and trust lives, not lost ! 

Even in the cold and quiet of the wom- 
an walking by her side the homely pow- 
er of the poor huckster was not weak to 
warm or to strengthen. Margaret left her, 
turning into the crowded street leading to 
the part of the town where the factories 
lay. The throng of anxious-faced men and 
women jostled and pushed, but she pass- 
ed through them with a different heart 
from yesterday's. Somehow, the morbid 
fancies were gone ; she was keenly alive ; 
the homely real life of this huckster had 
fired her, touched her "blood with a more 
vital stimulus than any tale of crusader. 
As she went down the crooked maze of 
dingy lanes, she could hear Lois's little 


A Story of To-Day. 


cracked bell far off: it sounded like a 
Christmas song to her. She half smiled, 
remembering how sometimes in her dis- 
tempered brain the world had seemed a 
gray, dismal Dance of Death. How ac- 
tual it was to-day, — hearty, vigorous, 
alive with honest work and tears and 
pleasure ! A broad, good world to live 
and work in, to suffer or die, if God so 
willed it, — God, the good ! She entered 
the vast, dingy factory ; the woollen dust, 
the clammy air of copperas were easier 
to breathe in ; the cramped, sordid office, 
the work, mere trifles to laugh at ; and 
she bent over the ledger with its hard 
lines in earnest good -will, through the 
slow creeping hours of the long day. 
She noticed that the unfortunate chicken 
was making its heart glad over a piece 
of fresh earth covered with damp moss. 
Dr. Knowles stopped to look at it when 
he came, passing her with a surly nod. 

" So your master 's not forgotten you," 
he snarled, while the blind old hen cock- 
ed her one eye up at him. 

Pike, the manager, had brought in 
some bills. 

" Who 's its master ? " he said, curious- 
ly, stopping by the door. 

" Holmes, — he feeds it every morn- 

The Doctor drawled out the words with 
a covert sneer, watching the quiet, cold 
face bending over the desk, meantime. 

Pike laughed. 

" Bah ! it 's the first thing he ever fed, 
then, besides himself. Chickens must lie 
nearer his heart than men." 

Knowles scowled at him ; he had no 
fancy for Pike's scurrilous gossip. 

The quiet face was unmoved. When 
he heard the manager's foot on the lad- 
der without, he tested it again. He had 
a vague suspicion which he was deter- 
mined to verify. 

" Holmes," he said, carelessly, " has an 
affinity for animals. No wonder. Adam 
must have been some such man as he, 
when the Lord gave him ' dominion over 
the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of 
the air.' " 

The hand paused courteously a mo- 

ment, then resumed its quick, cool move- 
ment over the page. He was not baf- 

. " If there were such a reality as mas- 
tership, that man was born to rule. Pike 
will find him harder to cheat than me, 
when he takes possession here." 

She looked up now, attentive. 

"He came here to take my "^ place in 
the mills, — buy me out, — articles will 
be signed in a day or two. I know what 
you think,— no, — not worth a dollar. On- 
ly brains and a soul, and he 's sold them 
at a high figure, — threw his heart in, — 
the purchaser being a lady. It was light, 
I fancy, — starved out, long ago." 

The old man's words were spurted out 
in the bitterness of scorn. The girl lis- 
tened with a cool incredulity in her eyes, 
and went back to her work. 

" Miss Heme is the lady, — my part- 
ner's daughter. Heme and Holmes they 
'11 call the firm. He is here every day, 
counting future profit." 

Nothing could be read on the cold still 
face ; so he left her, cursing, as he went, 
men who put themselves up at auction, 
— worse than Orleans slaves. Margaret 
laughed to herself at his passion ; as for 
the story he hinted, it was absurd. She 
forgot it in a moment. 

Two or three gentlemen down in one 
of the counting-rooms, just then, looked 
at the story from another point of view. 
They were talking low, out of hearing 
from the clerks. 

" It 's a good thing for Holmes," said 
one, a burly, farmer-like man, who was 
choosing specimens of wool. 

" Cheap. And long credit. Just half 
the concern he takes." 

" There is a lady in the case ? " sug- 
gested a young doctor, who, by virtue of 
having spent six months in the South, 
dropped his 7'-s, and talked of " niggahs" 
in a way to make a Georgian's hair stand 
on end. 

" A lady in the case ? " 

" 0-f course. Only child of Heme's. 
He comes down with the dust as dowry. 
Good thing for Holmes. 'Stonishin' how 
he 's made his way up. If money 's what 


A Story of To'Bay, 


he wants In this world, he 's making a 
long stride now to 't." 

The young doctor lighted his cigar, as- 
serting that — 

" Ba George, some low people did get 
on, re-markably ! Mary Heme, now, was 
best catch in town." 

" Do you think money is what he 
wants ? " said a quiet httle man, sitting 
lazily on a barrel, — a clergj^man, whom 
his clerical brothers shook their heads 
when they named, but never argued with, 
and bowed to with uncommon deference. 

The wool-buyer hesitated with a puz- 
zled look. 

" No," he said, slowly ; " Stephen Holmes 
is not miserly. I 've knowed him since 
a boy. To buy place, power, perhaps, 
eh? Yet not that, neither," he added, 
hastily. " We think a sight of him out 
our way, (self-made, you see,) and would 
have had him the best office in the State 
before this, only he was so cursedly in- 

" Indifferent, yes. No man cares much 
for stepping-stones In themselves," said 
the clergyman, half to himself 

" Great fault of American society, espe- 
cially In West," said the young aristocrat. 
" Stepping-stones lie low, as my rever- 
end friend suggests ; impudence ascends ; 
merit and refinement scorn such dirty 
paths," — with a mournful remembrance 
of the last dime In his waistcoat-pocket. 

" But do you," exclaimed the farmer, 
with sudden solemnity, "do you under- 
stand this scheme of Knowles's ? Every 
dollar he owns is in this mill, and every 
dollar of it is going into some castle in the 
air that no sane man can comprehend." 

" Mad as a March hare," contemptu- 
ously muttered the doctor. 

His reverend friend gave him a look, 
— after which he was silent. 

" I wish to the Lord some one would 
persuade him out of it," persisted the 
wool-man, earnestly looking at the quiet 
face of his listener. " We can't spare 
old Knowles's brain or heart while he 
ruins himself It 's something of a Com- 
munist fraternity : I don't know the n^me, 
but I know the thing." 

Very hard common-sense shone out of 
his eyes just then at the clerg}Tnan, whom 
he suspected of being one of Knowles's 

" There 's two ways for 'em to end. 
If they 're made out of the top of society, 
they get so refined, so Idealized, that ev- 
ery particle flies off on its own special 
path to the sun, and the Community 's 
broke ; and if they 're made of the lower 
mud, they keep going down, down togeth- 
er, — they live to drink and eat, and make 
themselves as near the brutes as they can. 
It is n't easy to believe, Sir, but It 's true. 
I have seen It. I 've seen every one of 
them the United States can produce. It 's 
facts^ Sir ; and facts, as Lord Bacon says, 
'• are the basis of every sound specula- 
tion.' " 

The last sentence was slowly brought 
out, as quotations were not exactly his 
/orte, but, as he said afterwards, — " You 
see, that nailed the parson." 

The parson nodded gravely. 

" You '11 find no such experiment In 
the Bible," threw In the young doctor, 
alluding to " serious things " as a peace- 
offering to his reverend friend. 

" One, I believe," dryly. 

"Well," broke in the farmer, fold- 
ing up his wool, " that 's neither here 
nor there. This experiment of Knowles's 
Is like nothing known since the Creation. 
Plan of his own. He spends his days 
now hunting out the gallows-birds out of 
the dens In town here, and they 're all to 
be transported Into the country to start a 
new Arcadia. A few men and women 
like himself, but the bulk is from the dens, 
I tell you. All start fair, level ground, 
perpetual celibacy, mutual trust, honor, 
rise according to the stuff that 's In them, 
— pah 1 It makes me sick ! " 

" Knowles's inclination to that sort of 
people is easily explained," spitefully lisp- 
ed the doctor. " Blood, Sir. His moth- 
er was a half-breed Creek, with all the 
propensities of the redskins to fire-water 
and ' itching palms.' Blood will out." 

" Here he is," maliciously whispered 
the wool-man. " No, it 's Holmes," he 
added, after the doctor had started Into 


A Story of To-Day. 


a more respectful posture, and glanced 
around frightened. 

He, the doctor, rose to meet Holmes's 
coming footstep, — "a low fellah, but al- 
ways sure to be the upper dog in the fight, 
goin' to marry the best catch," etc., etc. 
The others, on the contrary, put on their 
hats and sauntered away into the street. 
So the day broadened hotly ; the shadows 
of the Lombardy poplars curdling up into 
a sluggish pool of black at their roots along 
the dry gutters. The old schoolmaster 
in the shade of the great horse-chestnuts 
(brought from the homestead in the Pied- 
mont country, every one) husked corn for 
his wife, composing, meanwhile, a page of 
his essay on the " Sirventes de Bertrand 
de Born." The day passed for him as did 
his life, half in simple-hearted deed, half 
in vague visions of a dead world, never 
to be real again. Joel, up in the barn by 
himself, worked through the long day in 
the old fashion, — pondering gravely (be- 
ing of a religious turn) updh a sermon by 
the Reverend Mr. Clinche, reported in the 
" Gazette " ; wherein that disciple of the 
meek Teacher invoked, as he did once 
a week, the curses of the law upon his 
political opponents, praying the Lord to 
sweep them immediately from the face 
of the earth. Which rendering of Chris- 
tian doctrine was so much relished by Joel, 
and the other leading members of Mr. 
Clinche's church, that they hinted to him 
it might be as well to continue choosing 
his texts from Moses and the Prophets 
until the excitement of the day was over. 
The New Testament was, — well, — hard- 
ly suited for the emergency ; did not, 
somehow, chime in with the lesson of the 
hour. I may remark, in passing, that this 
course of conduct so disgusted the High- 
Church rector of the parish, that he not 
only ignored all new devils, (as Mr. Car- 
lyle might have called them,) but talked 
as if the millennium were un fait accom- 
pli^ and he had leisure to go and hammer 
at the poor dead old troubles of Luther's 
time. One thing, though, about Joel: 
while he was joining in Mr. Clinche's 
prayer for the " wiping out " of some few 
thousands, he was- using up all the frag- 

VOL. VIII. 38 

ments of the hot day in fixing a stall for 
a half-dead old horse he had found by the 
road-side. Let us hope, that, even if the 
listening angel did not grant the prayer, 
he marked down the stall at least, as a 
something done for eternity. 

Margaret, through the heat and stifling 
air, worked steadily alone in the dusty 
oflice, the cold, homely face bent over the 
books, never changing but once. It was 
a trifle then ; yet, when she looked back 
afterwards, the trifle was all that gave the 
day a name. The room shook, as I said, 
with the thunderous, incessant sound of 
the engines and the looms ; she scarcely 
heard it, being used to it. Once, however, 
another sound came between, — a slow, 
quiet tread, passing through the long 
wooden corridor, — so firm and measured 
that it sounded like the monotonous beat- 
ings of a clock. She heard it through the 
noise in the far distance ; it came slowly 
nearer, up to the door without, — passed 
it, going down the echoing plank walk. 
The girl sat quietly, looking out at the 
dead brick wall. The slow step fell on her 
brain like the sceptre of her master ; if 
Knowles had looked in her face then, he 
would have seen bared the secret of her 
life. Holmes had gone by, unconscious 
of who was within the door. She had 
not seen him ; it was nothing but a step 
she heard. Yet a power, the power of 
the girl's life, shook oflT all outward masks, 
all surface cloudy fancies, and stood up in 
her with a terrible passion at the sound ; 
her blood burned fiercely ; her soul look- 
ed out from her face, her soul as it was, 
as God knew it, — God and this man. 
No longer a cold, clear face ; you would 
have thought, looking at it, what a strong 
spirit the soul of this woman would be, if 
set free in heaven or in hell. The man 
who held it in his power went on careless- 
ly, not knowing that the mere sound of his 
step had raised it as from the dead. She, 
and her right, and her pain, were nothing 
to him now, she remembered, staring out 
at the taunting hot sky. Yet so vacant 
was the sudden life opened before her 
when he was gone, that, in the desper- 
ation of her weakness, her mad longing 


A Story of To-Day. 


to see him but once again, sbe would have 
thrown lierself at his feet, and let the cold, 
heavy step crush her life out, — as he 
would have done, she thought, choking 
down the icy smother in her throat, if it 
had served his purpose, though it cost his 
own heart's life to do it. He would tram- 
ple her down, if she kept him back from 
his end ; but be false to her, false to him- 
self, that he would never be ! 

So the hot, long day wore on, — the red 
bricks, the dusty desk covered with wool, 
the miserable chicken peering out, grow- 
ing sharper and more real in the glare. 
Life was no morbid nightmare now ; her 
weak woman's heart found it actual and 
near. There was not a pain nor a want, 
from the dumb hunger in the dog's eyes 
that passed her on the street, to her fa- 
ther's hopeless fancies, that did not touch 
her sharply through her own loss, with a 
keen pity, a wild wish to help to do some- 
thing to save others with this poor life left 
in her hands. 

So the hot day wore on in the town and 
country ; the old sun glaring down like 
some fierce old judge, intolerant of weak- 
ness or shams, — baking the hard earth in 
the streets harder for the horses' feet, dry- 
ing up the bits of grass that grew between 
the boulders of the gutter, scaling off the 
paint from the brazen faces of the inter- 
minable brick houses. He looked down 
in that city as in every American town, 
as in these where you and I live, on the 
same countless maze of human faces goin<]j 
day by day through the same monotonous 
routine. Knowles, passing through the 
restless crowds, read with keen eye among 
them strange meanings by this common 
light of the sun, — meanings such as you 
and I might read, if our eyes were clear 
as his, — or morbid, it may be. A com- 
monplace crowd like this in the street 
without : women with cold, fastidious fa- 
ces, heavy -brained, bilious men, dapper 
'prentices, draymen, prize-fighters, ne- 
groes. Knowles looked about him as into 
a seething caldron, in which the people 
I tell you of were atoms, where the blood 
of uncounted races was fused, but not min- 
gled, — where creeds, philosophies, cen- 

turies old, grappled hand to hand in their 
death-struggle,— where innumerable aims 
and beliefs and powers of intellect, smoth- 
ered rights and triumphant wrongs, warred 
together, struggling for victory. 

Vulgar American life ? He thought it 
a life more potent, more tragic in its his- 
tory and prophecy, than any that has gone 
before. People called him a fanatic. It 
may be that he was one : yet the uncouth 
old man, sick in soul from some gnawing 
pain of his own life, looked into the 
depths of human loss with a mad desire 
to set it right. On the very faces of those 
who sneered at him he found some traces 
of failure or pain, something that his heart 
carried up to God with aloud and exceed- 
ing bitter cry. The voice of the world, 
he thought, went up to heaven a discord, 
unintelligible, hopeless, — the great blind 
world, astray since the first ages ! Was 
there no hope, no help ? 

The hot sun shone down, as it had 
done for six thousand years ; it shone on 
open problems in the lives of these men 
and women who walked the streets, prob- 
lems whose end and beginning no eye 
could read. There were places where it 
did not shine : down in the fetid cellars, 
in the slimy cells of the prison yonder : 
what riddles of human life lay there he 
dared not think of. God knows how the 
man groped for the light, — for any voice 
to make earth and heaven clear to him. 

So the hot, long day wore on, for all of 
them. There was another light by which 
the world was seen that day, rarer than 
the sunshine, purer. It fell on the dense 
crowds, — upon the just and the unjust. It 
went into the fogs of the fetid dens from 
which the coarser light was barred, into 
the deepest mires where a human soul 
could wallow, and made them clear. It 
lighted the depths of the hearts whose 
outer pain and passion men were keen to 
read in the unpitying sunshine, and bared 
in those depths the feeble gropings for 
the right, the loving hope, the unuttered 
prayer. No kindly thought, no pure de- 
sire, no weakest faith in a God and heaven 
somewhere could be so smothered under 
guilt that this subtile light did not search 


A Story of To-Bay. 


it out, glo'w about it, shine through it, 
hold it up in full view of God and the 
angels,— lighting the world other than the 
sun had done for six thousand years. We 
have no name for the light : it has a name, 
— yonder. Not many eyes were clear 
to see its shining that day ; and if they 
did, it was as through a glass, darkly. 
Yet it belonged to us also, in the old 
time, the time when men could " hear 
the voice of the Lord God in the gar- 
den in the cool of the day." It is God's 
light now alone. 

Yet poor Lois caught faint glimpses, I 
think, sometimes, of its heavenly clear- 
ness. I think it was this light that made 
the burning of Christmas fires warmer 
for her than for others, that showed her 
all the love and outspoken honesty and 
hearty frolic which her eyes saw perpetu- 
ally in the old warm-hearted world. That 
evening, as she sat on the step of her 
brown frame shanty, knitting at a great 
blue stocking, her scarred face and mis- 
shapen body very pitiful to the passers- 
by, it was this light that gave to her face 
its homely, cheery smile. It made her 
eyes quick to know the message in the 
depths of color in the evening sky, or 
even the flickering tints of the green 
creeper on the wall with its crimson cor- 
nucopias filled with hot sunshine. She 
liked clear, vital colors, this girl, — the 
crimsons and blues. They answered her, 
somehow. They could speak. There 
were things in the world that like herself 
were marred, — did not understand, — 
were hungry to know : the gray sky, the 
mud swamps, the tawny lichens. She 
cried sometimes, looking at them, hard- 
ly knowing why: she could not help 
it, with a vague sense of loss. It seem- 
ed at those times so dreary for them to 
be ahve, — or for her. Other things her 
eyes were quicker to see than ours : deli- 
cate or grand lines, which she perpetually 
sought for unconsciously, — in the home- 
liest things, the very soft curling of the 
woollen yam in her fingers, as in the 
eternal sculpture of the mountains. Was 
it the disease of her injured brain that 
made all things alive to her, — that made 

her watch, in her ignorant way, the grave 
hills, the flashing, victorious rivers, look 
pitifully into the face of some dingy mush- 
room trodden in the mud before it scarce 
had lived, just as we should look into hu- 
man faces to know what they would say 
to us ? Was it the weakness and igno- 
rance that made everything she saw or 
touched nearer, more human to her than 
to you or me ? She never got used to 
living as other people do; these sights 
and sounds did not come to her common, 
hackneyed. Why, sometimes, out in the 
hills, in the torrid quiet of summer noons, 
she had knelt by the shaded pools, and 
buried her hands in the great slumberous 
beds of water-lilies, her blood curdling 
in a feverish languor, a passioned trance, 
from which she roused herself, weak and 

She had no self-poised artist sense, this 
Lois, — knew nothing of Nature's laws. 
Yet sometimes, watching the dun sea of 
the prairie rise and fall in the crimson light 
of early morning, or, in the farms, breath- 
ing the blue air trembling up to heaven 
exultant with the life of bird and forest, 
she forgot the poor coarse thing she was, 
some coarse weight fell off, and some- 
thing within, not the sickly Lois of the 
town, went out, free, like an exile dream- 
ing of home. 

You tell me, that, doubtless, in the 
wreck of the creature's brain, there were 
fragments of some artistic insight that 
made her thus rise above the level of her 
daily life, drunk with the mere beauty 
of form and color. I do not know, — not 
knowing how sham or real a thing you 
mean by artistic insight. But I do know 
that the clear light I told you of shone for 
this girl dimly through this beauty of form 
and color ; and ignorant, with no words 
for her thoughts, she believed in it as the 
Highest that she knew. I think it came 
to her thus an imperfect language, (not 
an outward show of tints and lines, as to 
some artists,) — a language, the same that 
Moses heard when he stood alone, with 
nothing between his naked soul and God, 
but the desert and the mountain and the 
bush that burned with fire. I think the 


A St07y of To-Day. 


weak soul of the girl staggered from its 
dungeon, and groped through these heavy- 
browed hills, these color-dreams, through 
even the homely kind faces on the street, 
to find the God that lay behind. So the 
light showed her the world, and, making 
its beauty and warmth divine and near 
to her, the warmth and beauty became 
real in her, found their homely shadows 
in her daily life. So it showed her, too, 
through her vague childish knowledge, 
tbe Master in whom she believed, — show- 
ed Him to her in everything that lived, 
more real than all beside. The waiting 
earth, the prophetic sky, the coarsest or 
fairest atom that she touched was but a 
part of Him, something sent to tell of Him, 
— she dimly felt ; though, as I said, she 
had no words for such a thought. Yet 
even more real than this. There was 
no pain nor temptation down in those 
dark cellars where she went that He had 
not borne, — not one. Nor was there the 
least pleasure came to her or the others, 
not even a cheerful fire, or kind words, 
or a warm, hearty laugh, that she did not 
know He sent it and was glad to do it. 
She knew that well ! So it was that He 
took part in her humble daily life, and 
became more real to her day by day. 
Very homely shadows her life gave of 
His light, for it was His : homely, be- 
cause of her poor way of living, and of 
the depth to which the heavy foot of the 
world had crushed her. Yet they were 
there all the time, in her cheery patience, 
if nothing more. To-night,, for instance, 
how differently the surging crowd seem- 
ed to her from what it did to Knowles ! 
She looked down on it from her high 
wood-steps with an eager interest, ready 
with her weak, timid laugh to answer ev- 
ery friendly call from below. She had 
no power to see them as types of great 
classes ; they were just so many living 
people, whom she knew, and who, most 
of them, had been kind to her. What- 
ever good there was in the vilest face, 
(and there was always something,) she 
was sure to see it. The light made her 
poor eyes strong for that. 

She liked to sit there in the evenings, 

being alone, yet never growing lonesome ; 
there was so much that was pleasant to 
watch and listen to, as the cool brown 
twilight came on. If, as Knowles thought, 
the world was a dreary discord, she knew 
nothing of it. People were going from 
their work now, — they had time to talk 
and joke by the way, — stopping, or walk- 
ing slowly down the cool shadows of the 
pavement ; while here and there a linger- 
ing red sunbeam burnished a window, or 
struck athwart the gray boulder -paved 
street. From the houses near you could 
catch a faint smell of supper : very friend- 
ly people those were in these houses ; she 
knew them all well. The children came 
out with their faces washed, to play, now 
the sun was down : the oldest of them gen- 
erally came to sit with her and hear a 

After it grew darker, you would see 
the girls in their neat blue calicoes go 
sauntering down the street with their 
sweethearts for a walk. There was old 
Polston and his son Sam coming home 
from the coal-pits, as black as ink, with 
their little tin lanterns on their caps. 
After a while Sam would come out in his 
suit of Kentucky jean, his face shining 
with the soap, and go sheepishly down 
to Jenny Ball's, and the old man would 
bring his pipe and chair out on the pave- 
ment, and his wife would sit on the steps. 
Most likely they would call Lois down, 
or come over themselves, for they were 
the most sociable, coziest old couple you 
ever knew. There was a great stopping 
at Lois's door, as the girls walked past, for 
a bunch of the flowers she brought from 
the country, or posies, as they called them, 
(Sam never would take any to Jenny but 
" old man " and pinks,) and she always 
had them ready in broken jugs inside. 
They were good, kind girls, every one of 
them, — had taken it in turn to sit up with 
Lois last winter all the time she had the 
rheumatism. She never forgot that time, 
— never once. 

Later in the evening you would see an 
old man coming along, close by the wall, 
with his head down, — a very dark man, 
with gray, thin hair, — Joe Yare, Lois's 


A Story of To-Day. 


old father. No one spoke to him, — 
people always were looking away as he 
passed ; and if old Mr. or Mrs. Polston 
■were on the steps when he came up, they 
would say, " Good -evening, Mr. Yare," 
very formally, and go away presently. 
Jt hurt Lois more than anything else 
they could have done. But she bustled 
about noisily, so that he would not notice 
it. If they saw the marks of the ill life 
he had lived on his old face, she did not ; 
his sad, uncertain eyes may have been 
dishonest to them, but they were noth- 
ing but kind to the misshapen little soul 
that he kissed so warmly with a " Why, 
Lo, my little girl ! " Nobody else in the 
world ever called her by a pet name. 

Sometimes he was gloomy and silent, 
but generailly he told her of all that had 
happened in the mill, particularly any 
little word of notice or praise he might 
have received, watching her anxiously 
until she laughed at it, and then rubbing 
his hands cheerfully. He need not have 
doubted Lois's faith in him. Whatever 
the rest did, she believed in him ; she al- 
ways had believed in him, through all the 
dark, dark years, when he was at home, 
and in the penitentiary. They were gone 
now, never to come back. It had come 
right. She, at least, thought his repen- 
tance sincere. If the others wronged 
him, and it hurt her bitterly that they 
did, that would come right some day too, 
she would think, as she looked at the tir- 
ed, sullen face of the old man bent to the 
window-pane, afraid to go out. They 
had very cheerful little suppers there by 
themselves in the odd, bare little room, as 
homely and clean as Lois herself 

Sometimes, late at night, when he had 
gone to bed, she sat alone in the door, 
while the moonlight fell in broad patch- 
es over the quiet square, and the great 
poplars stood like giants whispering to- 
gether. Still the far sounds of the town 
came up cheerfully, while she folded up 
her knitting, it being dark, thinking how 
happy an ending this was to a happy 
day. When it grew quiet, she could hear 
the solemn whisper of the poplars, and 
Bometimes broken strains of music from 

the cathedral in the city floated through 
the cold and moonlight past her, far 
off into the blue beyond the hills. All 
the keen pleasure of the day, the warm, 
bright sights and sounds, coarse and 
homely though they were, seemed to fade 
into the deep music, and make a part of 

Yet, sitting there, looking out into the 
listening night, the poor child's face grew 
slowly pale as she heard it. It humbled 
her. It made her meanness, her low, 
weak life so real to her ! There was no 
pain nor hunger she had known that did 
not find a voice in its inarticulate cry. 
She ! what was she ? All the pain and 
wants of the world must be going up to 
God in that sound, she thought. There 
was something more in it, — an unknown 
meaning that her shattered brain strug- 
gled to grasp. She could not. Her heart 
ached with a wild, restless longing. She 
had no words for the vague, insatiate 
hunger to understand. It was because 
she was ignorant and low, perhaps ; oth- 
ers could know. She thought her Mas- 
ter was speaking. She thought the un- 
known meaning linked all earth and 
heaven together, and made it plain. So 
she hid her face in her hands, and listened 
while the low harmony shivered through 
the air, unheeded by others, with the mes- 
sage of God to man. Not comprehend- 
ing, it may be, — the poor girl, — hungry 
still to know. Yet, when she looked up, 
there were warm tears in her eyes, and 
her scarred face was bright with a sad, 
deep content and love. 

So the hot, long day was over for them 
all, — passed as thousands of days have 
done for us, gone down, forgotten : as 
that long, hot day we call life will be over 
some time, and go down into the gray 
and cold. Surely, whatever of sorrow 
or pain may have made darkness in that 
day for you or me, there were count- 
less openings where we might have seen 
glimpses of that other light than sunshine : 
the light of ^he great Tomorrow, of the 
land where all wrongs shall be righted. 
If we had but chosen to see it, — if we 
only had chosen ! 


Concerning People who carried Weight in Life. [November, 


You drive out, let us suppose, upon a 
certain day. To your surprise and mor- 
tification, your horse, usually lively and 
frisky, is quite dull and sluggish. He 
does not get over the ground as he is 
wont to do. The slightest touch of whip- 
cord, on other days, suffices to make him 
dart forward with redoubled speed ; but 
upon this day, after two or three miles, 
he needs positive whipping, and he runs 
very sulkily with it all. By-and-by his 
coat, usually smooth and glossy and dry 
thi'ough all reasonable work, begins to 
stream like a water-cart. This will not 
do. There is something wrong. You 
investigate ; and you discover that your 
'horse's work, though seemingly the same 
as usual, is in fact immensely greater. The 
blockheads who oiled your wheels yester- 
day have screwed up your patent axles 
too tightly ; the friction is enormous ; the 
hotter the metal gets, the greater grows 
the friction ; your horse's work is quad- 
rupled. You drive slowly home, and se- 
verely upbraid the blockheads. 

There are many people who have to 
go through life at an analogous disadvan- 
tage. There is something in their con- 
stitution of body or mind, there is some- 
thing in their circumstances, which adds 
incalculably to the exertion they must go 
through to attain their ends, and which 
holds them back from doing what they 
might otherwise have done. Very prob- 
ably that malign something exerted its in- 
fluence unperceived by those around them. 
They did not get credit for the struggle 
they were going through. No one knew 
what a brave fight they were making with 
a broken right arm; no one remarked 
that they were running the race, and 
keeping a fair place in it, too, with their 
legs tied together. All they do, they do 
at a disadvantage. It is as when a no- 
ble race-horse is beaten by a sorry hack ; 
because the race-horse, as you might see, 

if you look at the list, is carrying twelve 
pounds additional. But such men, by 
a desperate efibrt, often made silently 
and sorrowfully, may (so to speak) run 
in the race, and do well in it, though 
you little think with how heavy a foot 
and how heavy a heart. There are oth- 
ers who have no chance at all. TTiey 
are like a horse set to run a race, tied 
by a strong rope to a tree, or weighted 
with ten tons of extra burden. That 
horse cannot run even poorly. The dif- 
ference between their case and that of 
the men who are placed at a disadvan- 
tage is like the difierence between set- 
ting a very near-sighted man to keep a 
sharp look-out and setting a man who is 
quite blind to keep that sharp look-out. 
Many can do the work of life with diffi- 
culty ; some cannot do it at all. In short, 
there are people who carry weight 
IN LIFE, and there are some who nev- 

And you, my friend, who are doing the 
work of life well and creditably, — you 
who are running in the front rank, and 
likely to do so to the end, think kindly 
and charitably of those who have broken 
down in the race. Think kindly of him 
who, sadly overweighted, is struggling 
onwards away half a mile behind you ; 
think more kindly yet, if that be possible, 
of him who, tethered to a ton of granite, 
is struggling hard and making no way at 
all, or who has even sat down and given 
up the struggle in dumb despair. You 
feel, I know, the weakness in yourself 
which would have made you break down, 
if sorely tried like others. You know 
there is in your armor the unprotected 
place at which a well-aimed or a random 
blow would have gone home and brought 
you down. Yes, you are nearing the 
winning-post, and you are among the 
first ; but six pounds more on your back, 
and you might have been nowhere. You 


Concerning People who carried Weight in Life. 


feel, by your weak heart and weary frame, 
that, if you had been sent to the Cri- 
mea in that dreadful first winter, you 
would certainly have died. And you feel, 
too, by your lack of moral stamina, by 
your feebleness of resolution, that it has 
been your preservation from you know 
not what depths of shame and misery, 
that you never were pressed very hard 
by temptation. Do not range yourself 
with those who found fault with a certain 
great and good Teacher of former days, 
because he went to be guest with a man 
that was a sinner. As if He could have 
gone to be guest with any man who was 

There is no reckoning up the manifold 
impedimenta by which human beings are 
weighted for the race of hfe ; but all may 
be classified under the two heads of un- 
favorable influences arising out of the 
mental or physical nature of the human 
beings themselves, and unfavorable influ- 
ences arising out of the circumstances 
in which the human beings are placed. 
You have known men who, setting out 
from a very humble position, have attain- 
ed to a respectable standing, but who 
would have reached a very much higher 
place but for their being weighted with 
a vulgar, violent, wrong-headed, and rude- 
spoken wife. You have known men of 
lowly origin who had in them the mak- 
ings of gentlemen, but whom this single 
malign influence has condemned to coarse 
manners and a frowzy, repulsive home for 
life. You have known many men whose 
powers are crippled and their nature 
soured by poverty, by the heavy necessi- 
ty for calculating how far each shilling 
will go, by a certain sense of degradation 
that comes of sordid shifts. How can a 
poor parson write an eloquent or spirited 
sermon when his mind all the while is 
running upon the thought how he is to 
pay the baker or how he is to get shoes 
for his children ? It will be but a dull 
discourse which, under that weight, will 
be produced even by a man who, favor- 
ably placed, could have done very con- 
siderable things. It is only a great gen- 

ius here and there who can do great 
things, who can do his best, no matter 
at what disadvantage he may be placed ; 
the great mass of ordinary men can make 
little headway with wind and tide dead 
against them. Not many trees would 
grow well, if watered daily (let us say) 
with vitriol. Yet a tree which would 
speedily die under that nurture might 
do very fairly, might even do magnificent- 
ly, if it had fair play, if it got its chance 
of common sunshine and shower. Some 
men, indeed, though always hampered by 
circumstances, have accomplished much ; 
but then you cannot help thinking how 
much more they might have accomplish- 
ed, had they been placed more happi- 
ly. Pugin, the great Gothic architect, 
designed various noble buildings ; but I 
beheve he complained that he never had 
fair play with his finest, — that he was 
always weighted by considerations of ex- 
pense, or by the nature of the ground 
he had to build on, or by the number of 
people it was essential the building should 
accommodate. And so he regarded his 
noblest edifices as no more than hints of 
what he could have done. He made 
grand running in the race ; but, oh, what 
running he could have made, if you had 
taken off those twelve additional pounds ! 
I dare say you have known men who la- 
bored to make a pretty country-house on 
a site which had some one great draw- 
back. They were always battling with 
that drawback, and trying to conquer it ; 
but they never could quite succeed. And 
it remained a real worry and vexation. 
Their house was on the north side of a 
high hill, and never could have its due 
share of sunshine. Or you could not 
reach it but by climbing a very steep as- 
cent ; or you could not in any way get 
water into the landscape. When Sir 
Walter was at length able to call his own 
a httle estate on the banks of the Tweed 
he loved so well, it was the ugliest, bleak- 
est, and least interesting spot upon the 
course of that beautiful river ; and the 
public road ran within a few yards of 
his door. The noble-hearted man made 
a charming dwelling at last ; but he was 


Concerning People who carried Weight in Life. [November, 

fighting against Nature in the matter of 
the landscape round it ; and you can see 
yet, many a year after he left it, the poor 
little trees of his beloved plantations con- 
trasting with the magnificent timber of 
various grand old places above and be- 
low Abbotsford. There is something sad- 
der in the sight of men who carried 
weight within themselves, and who, in 
aiming at usefulness or at happiness, 
were hampered and held back by their 
own nature. There are many men who 
are weighted with a hasty temper ; weight- 
ed with a nervous, anxious constitution ; 
weighted with an envious, jealous dispo- 
sition ; weighted with a strong tendency 
to evil speaking, lying, and slandering ; 
weighted with a grumbling, sour, discon- 
tented spirit ; weighted with a disposition 
to vaporing and boasting ; weighted with 
a great want of common sense ; weighted 
with an undue regard to what other peo- 
ple may be thinking or saying of them ; 
weighted with many like things, of which 
more will be said by-and-by. When that 
good missionary, Henry Martyn, was in 
India, he was weighted with an irresisti- 
ble drowsiness. He could hardly keep 
himself awake. And it must have been 
a burning earnestness that impelled him 
to ceaseless labor, in the presence of such - 
a drag-weight as that. I am not think- 
ing or saying, my friend, that it is wholly 
bad for us to carry weight, — that great 
good may not come of the abatement of 
our power and spirit which may be made 
by that weight. I remember a greater 
missionary than even the sainted Martyn, 
to whom the Wisest and Kindest appoint- 
ed that he should carry weight, and that 
he should fight at a sad disadvantage. 
And the greater missionary tells us that 
he knew why that weight was appointed 
him to carry ; and that he felt he needed 
it all to save him from a strong tendency 
to undue self-conceit. No one knows, now, 
what the burden was which he bore ; but it 
was heavy and painful ; it was " a thorn in 
the flesh." Three times he earnestly asked 
that it might be taken away ; but the an- 
swer he got implied that he needed it yet, 
and that his Master thought it a better 

plan to strengthen the back than to light- 
en the burden. Yes, the blessed lledeem- 
er appointed that St. Paul should carry 
weight in life ; and I think, friendly read- 
er, that we shall believe that it is wisely 
and kindly meant, if the like should come 
to you and me. 

We all understand what is meant, 
when we hear it said that a man is do- 
ing very well, or has done very well, 
considering. I do not know whether it 
is a Scotticism to stop short at that point 
of the sentence. We do it, constant- 
ly, in this country. The sentence would 
be completed by saying, considering the 
weight he has to carry, or the disadvan- 
tage at tohich he works. And things 
which are very good, considering, may 
range very far up and down the scale of 
actual merit. A thing which is very good, 
considering, may be very bad, or may be 
tolerably good. It never can be abso- 
lutely very good ; for, if it were, you 
would cease to use the word considering. 
A thing which is absolutely very good, 
if it have been done under extremely 
unfavorable circumstances, would not be 
described as very good, considering ; it 
would be described as quite wonderful, 
considering, or as miraculous, consider- 
ing. And it is curious how people take 
a pride in accumulating unfavorable cir- 
cumstances, that they may overcome them, 
and gain the glory of having overcome 
them. Thus, if a man wishes to sign his 
name, he might write the letters with his 
right hand ; and though he write them 
very clearly and well and rapidly, no- 
body would think of giving him any cred- 
it. But If he write his name rather bad- 
ly with his left hand, people would say 
it was a remarkable signature, consider- 
ing ; and if he write his name very ill 
indeed with his foot, people would say 
the writing was quite wonderful, consid- 
ering. If a man desire to walk from one 
end of a long building to the other, he 
might do so by walking along the floor ; 
and though he did so steadily, swiftly, 
and gracefully, no one would remark 
that he had done anything worth notice. 


Concerning People who carried Weight in Life, 


But if lie choose for his path a thick rope, 
extended from one end of the buihling to 
the other, at a height of a hundred feet, 
and if he walk rather slowly and awk- 
wardly along it, he will be esteemed as 
having done something very extraordina- 
ry: while if, in addition to this, he is 
blindfolded, and has his feet placed in 
large baskets instead of shoes, he will, if 
in any way he can get over the distance 
between the ends of the building, be held 
as one of the most remarkable men of 
the age. Yes, load yourself with weight 
which no one asks you to carry ; accu- 
mulate disadvantages which you need 
not face, unless you choose ; then carry 
the weight in any fashion, and overcome 
the disadvantages in any fashion ; and 
you are a great man, considering : that 
is, considering the disadvantages and the 
weight. Let this be remembered : if a 
man is so placed that he cannot do his 
work, except in the face of special diffi- 
culties, then let him be praised, if he van- 
quish these in some decent measure, and 
if he do his work tolerably well. But a 
man deserves no praise at all for work 
which he has done tolerably or done 
rather badly, because he chose to do it 
under disadvantageous circumstances, un- 
der which there was no earthly call upon 
him to do it. In this case he probably 
is a self- conceited man, or a man of 
wrong-headed independence of disposi- 
tion ; and in this case, if his work be bad 
absolutely, don't tell him that it is good, 
considering. Refuse to consider. He 
has no right to expect that you should. 
There was a man who built a house en- 
tirely with his own hands. He had never 
learned either mason-work or carpentry : 
he could quite well have afforded to pay 
skilled workmen to do the work he want- 
ed ; but he did not choose to do so. He 
did the whole work himself. The house 
was finished ; its aspect was peculiar. 
The walls were off the perpendicular 
considerably, and the windows were sin- 
gular in shape ; the doors fitted badly, and 
the floors were far from level. In short, 
it was a very bad and awkward-looking 
house ; but it was a wonderful house, 

considering. And people said that it was 
so, who saw nothing wonderful in the 
beautiful house next it, perfect in sym- 
metry and finish and comfort, but built 
by men whose business it was to build. 
Now I should have declined to admire 
that odd house, or to express the least 
sympathy with its builder. He chose to 
run with a needless hundred-weight on 
his back : he chose to walk in baskets in- 
stead of in shoes. And if, in consequence 
of his own perversity, he did his work 
badly, I should have refused to recog- 
nize it as anything but bad work. It 
was quite different with Robinson Cru- 
soe, who made his dwelling and his fur- 
niture for himself, because there was no 
one else to make them for him. I dare 
say his cave was anything but exactly 
square ; and his chairs and table were 
cumbrous enough ; but they were won- 
derful, considering certain facts which 
he was quite entitled to expect us to con- 
sider. Southey's Cottonian Library was 
all quite right ; and you would have said 
that the books were very nicely bound, 
considering ; for Southey could not af- 
ford to pay the regular binder's charges ; 
and it was better that his books should 
be done up in cotton of various hues by 
, the members of his own family than that 
they should remain not bound at all. 
You will think, too, of the poor old par- 
son who wrote a book which he thought 
of great value, but which no publisher 
would bring out. He was determined 
that all his labor should not be lost to 
posterity. So he bought types and a 
printing-press, and printed his precious 
work, poor man : he and his man-servant 
did it all. It made a great many volumes ; 
and the task took up many years. Then 
he bound the volumes with his own hands ; 
and carrying them to London, he placed 
a copy of his work in each of the public 
libraries. I dare say he might have saved 
himself his labor. How many of my 
readers could tell what was the title of 
the work, or what was the name of its 
author ? Still, there was a man who ac- 
complished his design, in the face of 
every disadvantage. 


Concerning PeopU who carried Weight in Life. [November, 

There is a great point of diflference 
between our feeling towards the human 
being who runs his race much overweight- 
ed and our feehng towards the inferior 
animal that does the like. If you saw a 
poor horse gamely struggling in a race, 
with a weight of a ton extra, you would 
pity it. Your sympathies would all be with 
the creature that was making the best of 
unfavorable circumstances. But it is a 
sorrowful fact, that the drag-weight of 
human beings not unfrequently consists 
of things which make us angry rather 
than sympathetic. You have seen a man 
carrying heavy weight in life, perhaps in 
the form of inveterate wrong-headedness 
and suspiciousness ; but instead of pity- 
ing him, our impulse would rather be to 
beat him upon that perverted head. AYe 
pity physical malformation or unhealthi- 
ness ; but our bent is to be angry with 
intellectual and moral malformation or 
unhealthiness. We feel for the deform- 
ed man, who must struggle on at that 
Bad disadvantage ; feeling it, too, much 
more acutely than you would readily be- 
lieve. But we have only indignation for 
the man weighted with far worse things, 
and things which, in some cases at least, 
he can just as little help. You have 
known men whose extra pounds, or even , 
extra ton, was a hasty temper, flying out 
of a sudden into ungovernable bursts : or 
a moral cowardice leading to trickery 
and falsehood : or a special disposition 
to envy and evil-speaking : or a veiy 
strong tendency to morbid complaining 
about their misfortunes and troubles : or 
an invincible bent to be always talking 
of their suflerings through the derange- 
ment of their digestive organs. Now, 
you grow angry at these things. You 
cannot stand them. And there is a sub- 
stratum of truth to that angry feeling. 
A man can form his mind more than he 
can form his body. If a man be well- 
made, physically, he will, in ordinary 
cases, remain so : but he may, in a mor- 
al sense, raise a great hunchback where 
Nature made none. He may foster a 
malignant temper, a grumbling, fretful 
spirit, which by manful resistance might 

be much abated, if not quite put down. 
But still, there should often be pity, where 
we are prone only to blame. We find a 
person in whom a truly disgusting char- 
acter has been formed : well, if you knew 
all, you would know that the person had 
hardly a chance of being otherwise : the 
man could not help it. You have known 
people who were awfully unamiable and 
repulsive : you may have been told how 
very different they once were, — sweet- 
tempered and cheerful. And surely the 
change is a far sadder one than that 
which has passed upon the wrinkled old 
woman who was once (as you are told) 
the loveliest girl of her time. Yet many 
a one who will look with interest upon 
the withered face and the dimmed eyes, 
and try to trace in them the vestiges of 
radiant beauty gone, will never think of 
puzzling out in violent spurts of petu- 
lance the perversion of a quick and kind 
heart ; or in curious oddities and petti- 
nesses the result of long and lonely years 
of toil in which no one sympathized ; or 
in cynical bitterness and misanthropy 
an old disappointment never got over. 
There is a hard knot in the wood, where 
a green young branch was lopped away. 
I have a great pity for old bachelors. 
Those I have known have for the most 
part been old fools. But the more fool- 
ish and absurd they are, the more pity is 
due them. I believe there is something 
to be said for even the most unamiable 
creatures. The shark is an unamiable 
creature. It is voracious. It will snap 
a man in two. Yet it is not unworthy 
of sympathy. Its organization is such 
that it is always suffering the most rav- 
enous hunger. You can hardly imagine 
the state of intolerable famine in which 
that unhappy animal roams the ocean. 
People talk of its awful teeth and its vin- 
dictive eye. I suppose it is well ascer- 
tained that the extremity of physical 
want, as reached on rafts at sea, has driv- 
en human beings to deeds as barbarous 
as ever shark was accused of The worse 
a human being is, the more he deserves 
our pity. Hang him, if that be needful 
for the welfare of society ; but pity him 


Concerning People who carried Weight in Life. 


even as you hang. Many a poor crea- 
ture has gradually become hardened and 
inveterate in guilt who would have shud- 
dered at first, had the excess of it ul- 
timately reached been at first presented 
to view. But the precipice was sloped 
off : the descent was made step by step. 
And there is many a human being who 
never had a chance of being good : many 
who have been trained, and even com- 
pelled, to evil from very infancy. Who 
that knows anything of our great cities, 
but knows how the poor little child, the 
toddling innocent, is sometimes sent out 
day by day to steal, and received in his 
wretched home with blows and curses, if 
be fail to bring back enough ? Who has 
not heard of such poor little things, un- 
successful in their sorry work, sleeping all 
night in some wintry stair, because they 
durst not venture back to their drunken, 
miserable, desperate parents ? I could 
tell things at which angels might shed 
tears, with much better reason for doing 
so than seems to me to exist in some of 
those more imposing occasions on which 
bombastic writers are wont to describe 
them as weeping. Ah, there is One who 
knows where the responsibility for all this 
rests ! Not wholly with the wretched par- 
ents : far from that. They, too, have 
gone through the like : they had as little 
chance as their children. They deserve 
our deepest pity, too. Perhaps the deep- 
er pity is not due to the shivering, starr- 
ing child, with the bitter wind cutting 
through its thin rags, and its blue feet on 
the frozen pavement, holding out a hand 
that is like the claw of some beast ; but 
rather to the brutalized mother who could 
thus send out the infant she bore. Sure- 
ly the mother's condition, if we look at 
the case aright, is the more deplorable. 
Would not you, my reader, rather en- 
dure any degree of cold and hunger than 
come to this ? Doubtless, there is blame 
somewhere, that such things should be : 
but we all know that the blame of the 
most miserable practical evils and fail- 
ures can hardly be traced to particular 
individuals. It is through the incapaci- 
ty of scores if public servants that an 

army is starved. It is through the fault 
of millions of people that our great towns 
are what they are : and it must be con- 
fessed that the actual responsibility is 
spread so thinly over so great a surface 
that it is hard to say it rests very blackly 
upon any one spot. Oh that we could 
but know whom to hang, when we find 
some flagrant, crying evil ! Unluckily, 
hasty people are ready to be content, if 
they can but hang anybody, without mind- 
ing much whether that individual be more 
to blame than many beside. Laws and 
kings have something to do here: but 
management and foresight on the part 
of the poorer claisses have a great deal 
more to do. And no laws can make 
many persons managing or provident. 
I do not hesitate to say, from what I have 
myself seen of the poor, that the same 
short-sighted extravagance, the same 
recklessness of consequences, which are 
frequently found in them, would cause 
quite as much misery, if they prevailed 
in a likb degree among people with a 
thousand a year. But it seems as if only 
the tolerably well-to-do have the heart to 
be provident and self-denying. A man 
with a few hundreds annually does not 
marry, unless he thinks he can afford it : 
but the workman with fifteen shillings a 
week is profoundly indifferent to any 
such calculation. I firmly believe that 
the sternest of all self-denial is that prac- 
tised by those who, when we divide man- 
kind into rich and poor, must be classed 
(I suppose) with the rich. But I turn 
away from a miserable subject, through 
which I cannot see my way clearly, and 
on which I cannot think but with unut- 
terable pain. It is an easy way of cut- 
ting the knot, to declare that the rich are 
the cause of all the sufferings of the poor ; 
but when we look at the case in all its 
bearings, we shall see that that is rank 
nonsense. And on the other hand, it is 
unquestionable that the rich are bound 
to do something. But what ? I should 
feel deeply indebted to any one who 
would write out, in a few short and in- 
telligible sentences, the practical results 
that are aimed at in the " Song of the 


Concerning People who carried Weight in Life. [November, 

Shirt." The misery and evil are mani- 
fest : but tell us •whom to hang ; tell us 
what to do ! 

One heavy burden -with -which many 
men are weighted for the race of life is 
depression of spirits. I wonder whether 
this used to be as common in former days 
as it is now. There was, indeed, the 
man in Homer who walked by the sea- 
shore in a very gloomy mood ; but his 
case seems to have been thought remark- 
able. What is it in our modern mode 
of Hfe and our infinity of cares, what 
little thing is it about the matter of the 
brain or the flow of the blood, that makes 
the difference between buoyant cheerful- 
ness and deep depression '? I begin to 
think that almost all educated people, and 
especially all whose work is mental rath- 
er than physical, suffer more or less from 
this indescribable gloom. And although 
a certain amount of sentimental sadness 
may possibly help the poet, or the imag- 
inative writer, to produce material which 
may be very attractive to the young and 
inexperienced, I suppose it will be ad- 
mitted by all that cheerfulness and hope- 
fulness are noble and healthful stimulants 
to worthy effort, and that depression of 
spirits does (so to speak) cut the sinews 
with which the average man must do the 
work of life. You know how lightly the 
buoyant heart carries people through en- 
tanglements and labors under which the 
desponding would break down, or which 
they never would face. Yet, in thinking 
of the commonness of depressed spirits, 
even where the mind is otherwise very 
free from anything morbid, we should re- 
member that there is a strong temptation 
to believe that this depression is more 
common and more prevalent than it tru- 
ly is. Sometimes there is a gloom which 
overcasts all life, like that in which James 
Watt lived and worked, and served his 
race so nobly, — like that from which the 
gentle, amiable poet, James Montgomery, 
Buffered through his whole career. But 
in ordinary cases the gloom is temporary 
and transient. Even the most depress- 
ed are not always so. Like, we know. 

suggests like powerfully. If you are 
placed in some peculiar conjuncture of 
circumstances, or if you pass through 
some remarkable scene, the present scene 
or conjuncture will call up before you, in 
a way that startles you, something like 
itself which you had long forgotten, and 
which you would never have remem- 
bered but for this touch of some myste- 
rious spring. And accordingly, a man 
depressed in spirits thinks that he is al- 
ways so, or at least fancies that such de- 
pression has given the color to his life in 
a very much greater degree than it ac- 
tually has done so. For this dark season 
wakens up the remembrance of many sim- 
ilar dark seasons which in more cheerful 
days are quite forgot ; and these cheerful 
days drop out of memory for the time. 
Hearing such a man speak, if he speak 
out his heart to you, you think him incon- 
sistent, perhaps you think him insincere. 
You think he is saying more than he 
truly feels. It is not so ; he feels and 
believes it all at the time. But he is 
taking a one-sided view of things ; he is 
undergoing the misery of it acutely for 
the time, but by-and-by he will see things 
from quite a different point. A very 
eminent man (there can be no harm in 
referring to a case which he himself 
made so public) wrote and published 
something about his miserable home. He 
was quite sincere, I do not doubt. He 
thought so at the time. He was misera- 
ble just then ; and so, looking back on 
past years, he could see nothing but mis- 
ery. But the case was not really so, one 
could feel sure. There had been a vast 
deal of enjoyment about his home and 
his lot ; it was forgotten then. A man 
in very low spirits, reading over his dia- 
ry, somehow lights upon and dwells upon 
all the sad and wounding things ; he in- 
voluntarily skips the rest, or reads them 
with but faint perception of their mean- 
ing. In reading the very Bible, he does 
the like thing. He chances upon that 
which is in unison with his present mood. 
I think there is no respect in which this 
great law of the association of ideas holds 
more strictly true than in the power of 


Concerning People who carried Weight in Life. 


a present state of mind, or a present 
state of outward circumstances, to bring 
up vividly before us all such states in 
our past history. We are depressed, we 
are worried ; and when we look back, 
all our departed days of worry and de- 
pression appear to start up and press 
themselves upon our view to the exclu- 
sion of anything else ; so that we are 
ready to think that we have never been 
otherwise than depressed and worried all 
our life. But when more cheerful times 
come, th*ey suggest only such times of 
cheerfulness, and no effort will bring 
back the depression vividly as when we 
felt it. It is not selfishness or heartless- 
ness, it is the result of an inevitable law 
of mind, that people in happy circum- 
stances should resolutely believe that it 
is a happy world after all ; for, looking 
back, and looking around, the mind re- 
fuses to take distinct note of anything 
that is not somewhat akin to its present 
state. And so, if any ordinary man, who 
is not a distempered genius or a great 
fool, tells you that he is always miserable, 
don't believe him. He feels so now, but 
he does not always feel so. There are 
periods of brightening in the darkest lot. 
Very, very few live in unvarying gloom. 
Not but that there is something very pit- 
iful (by which I mean deserving of pity) 
in what may be termed the Micawber 
style of mind, — in the stage of hyster- 
ic oscillations between joy and misery. 
Thoughtless readers of " David Copper- 
field" laugh at Mr. Micawber, and his 
rapid passages from the depth of despair 
to the summit of happiness, and back 
again. But if you have seen or expe- 
rienced that morbid condition, you would 
know that there is more reason to mourn 
over it than to laugh at it. There is 
acute misery felt now and then; and 
there is a pervading, never -departing 
sense of the hollowness of the morbid 
mirth. It is but a very few degrees bet- 
ter than " moody madness, laughing wild, 
amid severest woe." By depression of 
spirits I understand a dejection without 
any cause that could be stated, or from 
causes which in a healthy mind would 

produce no such degree of dejection. No 
doubt, many men can remember seasons 
of dejection which was not imaginary, 
and of anxiety and misery whose causes 
were only too real. You can remember, 
perhaps, the dark time in which you 
knew quite well what it was that made 
it so dark. Well, better days have come. 
That sorrowful, wearing time, which ex- 
hausted the springs of life faster than or- 
dinary living would have done, which 
aged you in heart and frame before your 
day, dragged over, and it is gone. You 
carried heavy weight, indeed, while it 
lasted. It was but poor running you 
made, poor work you did, with that fee- 
ble, anxious, disappointed, miserable 
heart. And you would many a time 
have been thankful to creep into a quiet 
grave. Perhaps that season did you good. 
Perhaps it was the discipline you needed. 
Perhaps it took out your self-conceit, and 
made you humble. Perhaps it disposed 
you to feel for the griefs and cares of 
others, and made you sympathetic. Per- 
haps, looking back now, you can discern 
the end it served. And now that it has 
done its work, and that it only stings you 
when you look back, let that time be 
quite forgotten ! 

There are men, and very clever men, 
who do the work of life at a disadvan- 
tage, through tJiis^ that their mind is a 
machine fitted for doing well only one 
kind of work, — or that their mind is a 
machine which, though doing many things 
well, does some one thing, perhaps a con- 
spicuous thing, very poorly. Y'ou find it 
hard to give a man credit for being pos- 
sessed of sense and talent, if you hear him 
make a speech at a public dinner, which 
speech approaches the idiotic for its silli- 
ness and confusion. And the vulgar mind 
readily concludes that he who does one 
thing extremely ill can do nothing well, 
and that he who is ignorant on one point 
is ignorant on all. A friend of mine, a 
country parson, on first going to his par- 
ish, resolved to farm his glebe for himself. 
A neighboring farmer kindly offered the 
parson to plough one of his fields. The 


Concerning People loho carried Weight in Life. [Xovember, 

fanner said that he would send his man 
John with a plough and a pair of horses, 
on a certain day. " If ye 're goin' about," 
said the farmer to the clergyman, " John 
■will be unco' weel pleased, if you speak 
to him, and say it 's a fine day, or the 
like o' that ; but dinna," said the farmer, 
with much solemnity, "dinna say ony- 
thing to him aboot ploughin' and sawin' ; 
for John," he added, " is a stupid body, 
but he has been ploughin' and sawin' all 
his life, and he '11 see in a minute that ye 
ken naething aboot ploughin' and sawin'. 
And then," said the sagacious old farmer, 
with extreme earnestness, " if he comes 
to think that ye ken naething aboot 
ploughin' and sawin', he '11 think that ye 
ken naething aboot onything ! " Yes, it 
is natural to us all to think, that, if the 
machine breaks down at that work in 
which we are competent to test it, then 
the machine cannot do any work at all. 

If you have a strong current of water, 
you may turn it into any channel you 
please, and make it do any work you 
please. With equal energy and success 
it will flow north or south ; it will turn a 
corn-mill, or a threshing-machine, or a 
grindstone. Many people live under a 
vague impression that the human mind 
is like that. They think, — Here is so 
much ability, so much energy, which may 
be turned in any direction, and made to 
do any work ; and they are surprised to 
find that the power, available and great 
for one kind of work, is worth nothing 
for another. A man very clever at one 
thing is positively weak and stupid at 
another thing. A very good judge may 
be a wretchedly bad joker ; and he must 
go through his career at this disadvan- 
tage, that people, finding him silly at the 
thing they are able to estimate, find it hard 
to believe that he is not silly at every- 
thing. I know, for myself, that it would 
not be right that the Premier should re- 
quest me to look out for a suitable Chan- 
cellor. I am not competent to appreciate 
the depth of a man's knowledge of equi- 
ty ; by which I do not mean justice, but 
chancery law. But, though quite unable 
to understand how great a Chancellor 

Lord Eldon was, I am quite able to esti- 
mate how great a poet he was, also how 
great a wit. Here is a poem by that 
eminent person. Doubtless he regarded 
it as a wonder of happy versification, as 
well as instinct with the most convulsing 
fun. It is intended to set out in a metri- 
cal form the career of a certain judge, 
who went up as a poor lad from Scotland 
to England, but did well at the bar, and 
ultimately found his place upon the bench. 
Here is Lord Chancellor Eldon's humor- 
ous poem : — 

" James Allan Parke 
Came naked stark 

From Scotland: 
But he got clothes, 
Like other beaux, 

In England ! " 

Now the fact that Lord Eldon wrote that 
poem, and valued it highly, would lead 
some folk to suppose that Lord Eldon 
was next door to an idiot. And a good 
many other things which that Chancellor 
did, such as his quotations from Scripture 
in the House of Commons, and his at- 
tempts to convince that assemblage (when 
Attorney-General) that Napoleon I. was 
the Apocalyptic Beast or the Little Horn, 
certainly point towards the same conclu- 
sion. But the conclusion, as a general 
one, would be wrong. No doubt, Lord 
Eldon was a wise and sagacious man as 
judge and statesman, though as wit and 
poet he was almost an idiot. So with 
other great men. It is easy to remem- 
ber occasions on which great men have 
done very foolish things. There never 
was a truer hero nor a greater command- 
er than Lord Nelson ; but in some things 
he was merely an awkward, overgrown 
midshipman. But then, let us remember 
that a locomotive engine, though excel- 
lent at running, would be a poor hand at 
flying. That is not its vocation. The 
engine will draw fifteen heavy carriages 
fifty miles in an hour ; and that remains 
as a noble feat, even though it be as- 
certained that the engine could not jump 
over a brook which would be cleared ea- 
sily by the veriest screw. We all see this. 


Concerning People who carried Weight in Life. 


But many of us have a confused idea that 
a great and clever man is (so to speak) a 
locomotive that can fly; and when it is 
proved that he cannot fly, then we begin 
to doubt whether he can even run. We 
think he should be good at everything, 
whether in his own line or not. And he 
is set at a disadvantage, particularly in 
the judgment of vulgar and stupid peo- 
ple, when it is clearly ascertained that at 
some things he is very inferior. I have 
heard of a very eminent preacher who 
sunk considerably (even as regards his 
preaching) in the estimation of a certain 
family, because it appeared that he play- 
ed very badly at bowls. And we all 
know that occasionally the Premier al- 
ready mentioned reverses the vulgar er- 
ror, and in appointing men to great places 
is guided by an axiom which amounts to 
just this : this locomotive can run well, 
therefore it will fly well. This man has 
filled a certain position well, therefore let 
us appoint him to a position entirely dif- 
ferent ; no doubt, he will do well there 
too. Here is a clergyman who has edit- 
ed certain Greek plays admirably; let 
us make him a bishop. 

It may be remarked here, that the men 
who have attained the greatest success 
in the race of life have generally carried 
weight. Nitor in adversum might be the 
motto of many a man besides Burke. It 
seems to be almost a general rule, that 
the raw material out of which the finest 
fabrics are made should look very little 
like these, to start with. It was a stam- 
merer, of uncommanding mien, who be- 
came the greatest orator of graceful 
Greece. I believe it is admitted that 
Chalmers was the most efiective preach- 
er, perhaps the most telling speaker, that 
Britain has seen for at least a century ; 
yet his aspect was not commanding, his 
gestures were awkward, his voice was 
bad, and his accent frightful. He talked 
of an oppning when he meant an open- 
ing, and he read out the text of one of 
his noblest sermons, " He that is fulthy, 
let him be fulthy stull." Yet who ever 
thought of these things after hearing the 

good man for ten minutes? Ay, load 
Eclipse with what extra pounds you 
might, Eclipse would always be first I 
And, to descend to the race-horse, he 
had four white legs, white to the knees ; 
and he ran more awkwardly than racer 
ever did, with his head between his fore- 
legs, close to the ground, like a pig. Alex- 
ander, Napoleon, and Wellington were 
all little men, in places where a com- 
manding presence would have been of 
no small value. A most disagreeably af- 
fected manner has not prevented a bar- 
rister with no special advantages from 
rising with general approval to the high- 
est places which a barrister can fill. A 
hideous little wretch has appeared for 
trial in a criminal court, having succeed- 
ed in marrying seven wives at once. A 
painful hesitation has not hindered a cer- 
tain eminent person from being one of 
the principal speakers in the British Par- 
liament for many years. Yes, even dis- 
advantages never overcome have not suf- 
ficed to hold in obscurity men who were 
at once able and fortunate. But some- 
times the disadvantage was thoroughly 
overcome. Sometimes it served no oth- 
er end than to draw to one point the at- 
tention and the efforts of a determined 
will ; and that matter in regard to which 
Nature seemed to have said that a man 
should fall short became the thing in 
which he attained unrivalled perfection. 

A heavy drag-weight upon the powers 
of some men is the uncertainty of their 
powers. The man has not his powers 
at command. His mind is a capricious 
thing, that works when it pleases, and 
will not work except when it pleases. I 
am not thinking now of what to many is 
a sad disadvantage : that nervous trepi- 
dation which cannot be reasoned away, 
and which often deprives them of the full 
use of their mental abilities just when 
they are most needed. It is a vast thing 
in a man's favor, that whatever he can 
do he should be able to do at any time, 
and to do at once. For want of coolness 
of mind, and that readiness which gener- 
ally goes with it, many a man cannot do 


Concerning People who carried Weight in Life. [November, 

himself justice; and in a deliberative 
assembly he may be entirely beaten by 
some flippant person who has all his 
money (so to speak) in his pocket, while 
the other must send to the bank for his. 
How many people can think next day, 
or even a few minutes after, of the pre- 
cise thing they ought to have said, but 
which would not come at the time ! But 
very frequently the thing is of no value, 
unless it come at the time when it is 
wanted. Coming next day, it is like the 
offer of a thick fur great-coat on a swel- 
tering day in July. You look at the 
wrap, and say, " Oh, if I could but have 
had you on the December night when I 
went to London by the limited mail, and 
was nearly starved to death!" But it 
seems as if the mind must be, to a cer- 
tain extent, capricious in its action. Ca- 
price, or what looks like it, appears of 
necessity to go with complicated machin- 
ery, even material. The more compli- 
cated a machine is, the liker it grows to 
mind, in the matter of uncertainty and 
apparent caprice of action. The simplest 
machine — say a pipe for conveying wa- 
ter — will always act in precisely the 
same way. And two such pipes, if of 
the same dimensions, and subjected to 
the same pressure, will always convey 
the self-same quantities. But go to more 
advanced machines. Take two clocks 
or two locomotive engines, and though 
these are made in all respects exactly 
alike, they will act (I can answer at least 
for the locomotive engines) quite differ- 
ently. One locomotive will swallow a 
vast quantity of water at once ; another 
must be fed by driblets ; no one can say 
why. One engine is a facsimile of the 
other ; yet each has its character and its 
peculiarities as truly as a man has. You 
need to know your engine's temper be- 
fore driving it, just as much as you need 
to know that of your horse, or that of 
your friend. I know, of course, there is 
a mechanical reason for this seeming ca- 
price, if you could trace the reason. But 
not one man in a thousand could trace 
out the reason. And the phenomenon, 
as it presses itself upon us, really amounts 

to this : that very complicated machinery 
appears to have a will of its own, — ap- 
pears to exercise something of the nature 
of choice. But there is no machine so 
capricious as the human mind. The great 
poet who wrote those beautiful verses 
could not do that every day. A good 
deal more of what he writes is poor 
enough ; and many days he could not 
write at all. By long habit the mind 
may be made capable of being put in 
harness daily for the humbler task of 
producing prose ; but you cannot say, 
when you harness it in the morning, how 
far or at what rate it will run that day. 

Go and see a great organ of which 
you have been told. Touch it, and you 
hear the noble tones at once. The organ 
can produce them at any time. But go 
and see a great man ; touch him, — that 
is, get him to begin to talk. You will be 
much disappointed, if you expect, certain- 
ly, to hear anything like his book or his 
poem. A great man is not a man who is 
always saying great things, or who is al- 
ways able to say great things. He is a 
man who on a few occasions has said 
great things ; who on the coming of a 
sufficient occasion may possibly say great 
things again ; but the staple of his talk is 
commonplace enough. Here is a point 
of difference from machinery, with all 
machinery's apparent caprice. You could 
not say, as you pointed to a steam-engine, 
" The usual power of that engine is two 
hundred horses ; but once or twice it has 
surprised us all by working up to two 
thousand." No ; the engine is always of 
nearly the power of two thousand horses, 
if it ever is. But what we have been 
supposing as to the engine is just what 
many men have done. Poe wrote " The 
Raven " ; he was working then up to two 
thousand horse power. But he wrote 
abundance of poor stuff, working at about 
twenty-five. Read straight through the 
volumes of Wordsworth, and I think you 
will find traces of the engine having work- 
ed at many different powers, varying from 
twenty-five horses or less up two thousand 
or more. Go and hear a really great 
preacher, when he is preaching in his 


Concerning People who carried Weight in Life. 


own church upon a common Sunday, 
and possibly you may hear a very ordi- 
nary sermon. I have heard Mr. Melvill 
preach very poorly. You must not ex- 
pect to find people always at their best. 
It is a- very unusual thing that even the 
ablest men should be like Burke, who 
could not talk with an intelligent stran- 
ger for five minutes without convincing 
the stranger that he had talked for five 
minutes with a great man. And it is an 
awful thing, when some clever youth is 
introduced to some local poet who has 
been told how greatly the clever youth 
admires him, and what vast expectations 
the clever youth has formed of his con- 
versation, and when the local celebrity 
makes a desperate effort to talk up to the 
expectations formed of him. I have wit- 
nessed such a scene ; and I can sincerely 
say that I could not previously have be- 
lieved that the local celebrity could have 
made such a fool of himself He was re- 
solved to show that he deserved his fame, 
and to show that the mind which had pro- 
duced those lovely verses in the country 
newspaper could not stoop to common- 
place things. 

Undue sensitiveness, and a too lowly 
estimate of their own powers, hang heav- 
ily upon some men,— probably upon more 
men than one would imagine. I believe 
that many a man whom you would take 
to be ambitious, pushing, and self-com- 
placent, is ever pressed with a sad con- 
viction of inferiority, and wishes nothing 
more than quietly to slip through life. It 
would please and satisfy him, if he could 
but be assured that he is just like other 
people. You may remember a touch of 
nature (that is, of some people's nature) 
in Burns ; you remember the simple ex- 
ultation of the peasant mother, when her 
daughter gets a sweetheart : she is " well 
pleased to see Jier bairn respeckit like the 
lave" that is, like the other girls round. 
And undue humility, perhaps even befit- 
ting humility, holds back sadly in the race 
of life. It is recorded that a weaver in a 
certain village in Scotland was wont dai- 
ly to offer a singular petition ; he prayed 

VOL. VIII. 39 

daily and fervently for a better opinion 
of himself Yes, a firm conviction of 
one's own importance is a great help in 
life. It gives dignity of bearing ; it does 
(so to speak) lift the horse over many a 
fence at which one with a less confident 
heart would have broken down. But the 
man who estimates himself and his place 
humbly and justly will be ready to shrink 
aside, and let men of greater impudence 
and not greater desert step before him. 
I have often seen, with a sad heart, in 
the case of working people that manner, 
difficult to describe, which comes of be- 
ing what we in Scotland sometimes call 
sair Jiadden down. I have seen the like 
in educated people, too. And not very 
many will take the trouble to seek out 
and to draw out the modest merit that 
keeps itself in the shade. The energetic, 
successful people of this world are too 
busy in pushing each for himself to have 
time to do that. You will find that peo- 
ple with abundant confidence, people who 
assume a good deal, are not unfrequently 
taken at their own estimate of themselves. 
I have seen a Queen's Counsel walk into 
court, after the case in which he was en- 
gaged had been conducted so far by his 
junior, and conducted as. well as mortal 
could conduct it. But it was easy to 
see that the complacent air of superior 
strength with which the Queen's Counsel 
took the management out of his junior's 
hands conveyed to the jury, (a common 
jury,) the belief that things were now to 
be managed in quite different and vastly 
better style. And have you not known^ 
such a thing as that a family, not a whit 
better, wealthier, or more respectable 
than all the rest in the little country 
town or the country parish, do yet, by 
carrying their heads higher, (no mortal; 
could say why,) gradually elbow them- 
selves into a place of admitted social su- 
periority ? Everybody knows exactly 
what they are, and from what they have 
sprung ; but somehow, by resolute as- 
sumption, by a quiet air of being better- 
than their neighbors, they draw ahead 
of them, and attain the glorious advan- 
tage of one step higher on the delicately 


Concerning People who carried Weight in Life. [November, 

graduated social ladder of the district. 
Now it is manifest, that, if such people 
had sense to see their true position, and 
the absurdity of their pretensions, they 
would assuredly not have gained that ad- 
vantage, whatever it may be worth. 

But sense and feeling are sometimes 
burdens in the race of life ; that is, they 
sometimes hold a man back from grasp- 
ing material advantages which he might 
have grasped, had he not been prevented 
by the possession of a certain measure of 
common sense and right feeling. I doubt 
not, my friend, that you have acquaint- 
ances who can do things which you could 
not do for your life, and who by doing 
these things push their way in life. They 
ask for what they want, and never let a 
chance go by them. And though they 
may meet many rebuffs, they sometimes 
make a successful venture. Impudence 
sometimes attains to a pitch of sublimity ; 
and at that point it has produced a very 
great impression upon many men. The 
incapable person who started for a pro- 
fessorship has sometimes got it. The 
man who, amid the derision of the coun- 
ty, published his address to the electors, 
has occasionally got into the House of 
Commons. The vulgar half- educated 
preacher, who without any introduction 
asked a patron for a vacant living in the 
Church, has now and then got the living. 
And however unfit you may be for a 
place, and however discreditable may 
have been the means by which you got 
it, once you have actually held it for two 
or three years people come to acquiesce 
in your holding it. They accept the fact 
that you are there, just as we accept the 
fact that any other evil exists in this 
world, without asking why, except on 
very special occasions. I believe, too, 
that, in the matter of worldly preferment, 
there is too much fatalism in many good 
men. They have a vague trust that Prov- 
idence will do more than it has promised. 
They are ready to think, that, if it is God's 
will that they are to gain such a prize, it 
will be sure to come their way without 
their pushing. That is a mistake. Sup- 
pose you apply the same reasoning to 

your dinner. Suppose you sit still in 
your study and say, "If I am to have 
dinner to-day, it will come without effort 
of mine ; and if I am not to have dinner 
to-day, it will not come by any effort of 
mine ; so here I sit still and do nothing." 
Is not that absurd ? Yet that is what 
many a wise and good man practically 
says about the place in life which would 
suit him, and which would make him hap- 
py. Not Turks and Hindoos alone have 
a tendency to believe in their Kismet. 
It is human to believe in that. And we 
grasp at every event that seems to favor 
the belief. The other evening, in the 
twilight, I passed two respectable-looking 
women who seemed like domestic ser- 
vants ; and I caught one sentence which 
one said to the other with great apparent 
faith. " You see," she said, " if a thing 's 
to come your way, it '11 no gang by ye ! " 
It was in a crowded street ; but if it had 
been in my country parish, where every- 
one knew me, I should certainly have 
stopped the women, and told them, that, 
though what they said was quite true, I 
feared they were understanding it wrong- 
ly, and that the firm belief we all hold in 
God's Providence which reaches to all 
events, and in His sovereignty which 
orders all things, should be used to help 
us to be resigned, after we have done 
our best and failed, but should never be 
used as an excuse for not doing our best. 
When we have set our mind on any 
honest end, let us seek to compass it by 
every honest means ; and if we fail after 
having used every honest means, then 
let us fall back on the comfortable belief 
that things are ordered by the Wisest 
and Kindest ; then is the time for the 
Fiat Voluntas Tua. 

You would not wish, my friend, to be 
deprived of common sense and of delicate 
feeling, even though you could be quite 
sure that once that drag-weight was tak- 
en off, you would spring forward to the 
van, and make such running in the race 
of life as you never made before. Still, 
you cannot help looking with a certain 
interest upon those people who, by the 


Concerning People who carried Weight in Life. 


enabled to do things and say things which 
you never could. I have sometimes look- 
ed with no small curiosity upon the kind 
of man who will come uninvited, and 
without warning of his approach, to stay 
at another man's house : who will stay on, 
quite comfortable and unmoved, though 
seeing plainly he is not wanted : who 
will announce, on arriving, that his visit 
is to be for three days, and who will 
then, without farther remark, and with- 
out invitation of any kind, remain for a 
month or six weeks : and all the while 
sit down to dinner every day with a per- 
fectly easy and unembarrassed manner. 
You and I, my reader, would rather live 
on much less than sixpence a day than 
do all this. We could not do it. But 
some people not merely can do it, but can 
do it without any appearance of effort. 
Oh, if the people who are victimized by 
these horse-leeches of society could but 
gain a little of the thickness of skin which 
characterizes the horse-leeches, and bid 
them be off, and not return again till 
they are invited ! To the same pachy- 
dermatous class belong those individuals 
who will put all sorts of questions as to 
the private aflfairs of other people, but 
carefully shy off from any similar confi- 
dence as to their own affairs : also those 
individuals who borrow small sums of 
money and never repay them, but go on 
borrowing till the small sums amount to 
a good deal. To the same class may be 
referred the persons who lay themselves 
out for saying disagreeable things, the 
" candid friends " of Canning, the " peo- 
ple who speak their mind," who form 
such pests of society. To find fault is to 
right-feeling men a very painful thing ; 
but some take to the work with avidity 
and delight. And while people of culti- 
vation shrink, with a delicate intuition, 
from saying anything which may give pain 
or cause uneasiness to others, there are 
others who are ever painfully treading 
upon the moral corns of all around them. 
Sometimes this is done designedly : as by 
Mr. Snarling, who by long practice has 
attained the power of hinting and insin- 
uating, in the course of a forenoon call, 

as many unpleasant things as may ger- 
minate into a crop of ill-tempers and wor- 
ries which shall make the house at which 
he called uncomfortable all that day. 
Sometimes it is done unawares, as by 
Mr. Boor, who, through pure ignorance 
and coarseness, is always bellowing out 
things which it is disagreeable to some 
one, or to several, to hear. Which was 
it, I wonder. Boor or Snarling, who once 
reached the dignity of the mitre, and 
who at prayers in his house uttered this 
supplication on behalf of a lady visitor 
who was kneeling beside him : " Bless 

our friend, Mrs. : give her a little 

more common sense ; and teach her to 
dress a little less like a tragedy queen 
than she does at present " ? 

But who shall reckon up the countless 
circumstances which lie like a depressing 
burden on the energies of men, and make 
them work at that disadvantage which 
we have thought of under the fifjure of 
carrying weight in life .^ There are men 
who carry weight in a damp, marshy 
neighborhood, who, amid bracing moun- 
tain air might have done things which 
now they will never do. There are men 
who carry weight in an uncomfortable 
house : in smoky chimneys : in a study 
with a dismal look-out : in distance from 
a railway-station : in ten miles between 
them and a bookseller's shop. Give an- 
other hundred a year of income, and the 
poor struggling parson who preaches dull 
sermons will astonish you by the talent 
he will exhibit when his mind is freed 
from the dismal depressing influence of 
ceaseless scheming to keep the wolf from 
the door. Let the poor little sick child 
grow strong and well, and with how much 
better heart will its father face the work 
of life ! Let the clergyman who preach- 
ed, in a spiritless enough way, to a hand- 
ful of uneducated rustics, be placed in a 
charge where weekly he has to address 
a large cultivated congregation, and, 
with the new stimulus, latent powers 
may manifest themselves which no one 
fancied he possessed, and he may prove 
quite an eloquent and attractive preach- 

612 WTiy has the North felt aggrieved with England'^ [November, 

er. A dull, quiet man, whom you es-* 
teemed as a blockhead, may suddenly 
be valued very differently when circum- 
stances unexpectedly call out the solid 
qualities he possesses, unsuspected be- 
fore. A man devoid of brilliancy may 
on occasion show that he possesses great 
good sense, or that he has the power of 
sticking to his task in spite of discourage- 
ment. Let a man be placed where dog- 
ged perseverance will stand him in stead, 
and you may see what he can do when 
he has but a chance. The especial 
weight which has held some men back, 
the thing which kept them from doing 
great things and attaining great fame, 
has been just this : that they were not 
able to say or to write what they have 
thought and felt. And, indeed, a great 
poet is nothing more than the one man in 
a million who has the gift to express that 
which has been in the mind and heart 
of multitudes. If even the most com- 
monplace of human beings could write 
all the poetry he has felt, he would pro- 
duce something that would go straight to 
the hearts of many. 

It is touching to witness the indications 
and vestiges of sweet and admirable 
things which have been subjected to a 
weight which has entirely crushed them 
down, — things which would have come 
out into beauty and excellence, if they 
had been allowed a chance. You may 
witness one of the saddest of all the loss- 

es of Nature in various old maids. What 
kind hearts are there running to waste ! 
What pure and gentle affections blossom 
to be blighted ! I dare say you have 
heard a young lady of more than forty 
sing, and you have seen her eyes fill 
with tears at the pathos of a very com- 
monplace verse. Have you not thought 
that there was the indication of a tender 
heart which might have made some good 
man happy, and, in doing so, made her- 
self happy, too ? But it was not to be. 
Still, it is sad to think that sometimes 
upon cats and dogs there should be wast- 
ed the affection of a kindly human being ! 
And you know, too, how often the fairest 
promise of human excellence is never 
suffered to come to fruit. You must look 
upon gravestones to find the names of 
those who promised to be the best and 
noblest specimens of the race. They died 
in early youth, — perhaps in early child- 
hood. Their pleasant faces, their singu- 
lar words and ways, remain, not often 
talked of, in the memories of subdued 
parents, or of brothers and sisters now 
grown old, but never forgetting how that 
one of the family, that was as the flower 
of the flock, was the first to fade. It has 
been a proverbial saying, you know, even 
from heathen ages, that those whom the 
gods love die young. It is but an infe- 
rior order of human beings that makes 
the living succession to carry on the hu- 
man race. 


We have chosen a guarded and pas- 
sionless wording for a topic on which we 
wish to offer a few frankly spoken, but 
equally passionless remarks. With the 
bitterness and venom and exaggeration 
of statement which both English and 
American papers have interchanged in 
reference to matters of opinion and mat- 

ters of feeling connected with our na- 
tional troubles we do not now intermed- 
dle. We would not imitate it : we regret 
it, and on our own side we are ashamed 
of it. We have read editorials and com- 
munications in our own papers so grossly 
vituperative and stinging in the rancor 
of their spirit, that it would not have 


Wh^ has the North felt aggrieved with England'^ 


surprised us, if some Englishmen, of a 
certain class, had organized a hostile as- 
sociation against us in revenge for our 
truculent defiance. The real spirit of 
bullyism, of the cockpit and the pugil- 
istic ring, has been exhibited in this in- 
terchange of newspaper opinion. The 
more is the reason why we should not 
overlook or be blind to the real griev- 
ances in the case, nor fail to give ex- 
pression to them in the strongest way of 
which their emphatic, but unembittered, 
statement will admit. Whether the Lon- 
don " Times " is or is not an authorita- 
tive vehicle for the utterance of average 
English opinion, and an index, in its 
general tone, of the prevailing sentiment 
of that people, is a question which, so far 
from wishing to decide, we must decline 
to entertain, as mainly irrelevant to our 
present purpose. As a matter of fact, 
however, if we did accept that print as 
an authority and a standard in English 
opinion, we should throw more of tem- 
per than we hope to prevent escaping 
through our words into the remarks 
which are to follow. That paper evi- 
dently represents the opinion of one 
class, perhaps of more than one class of 
Englishmen. An intelligent American 
reader of its comments on our affairs 
can always read it, as even the best-in- 
formed Englishman cannot, with the skill 
and ability to discern its spirit, often 
covertly mean, and to detect its mis- 
representations, some of the grossest of 
which are made the basis of its argu- 
ments and inferences. From the very 
opening of our strife to the last issue 
of that print which has crossed the wa- 
ter, its comments and records relatins 
to our affairs have presented a most 
ingenious and mischievous combination 
of everything false, ill-tempered, ma- 
lignant, and irritating. It is at pres- 
ent exercising itself upon the financial 
arrangements of our Government, and 
uttering prophecies, falsified before they 
have come to our knowledge, about the 
inability or the unwillingness of our loy- 
al people to furnish the necessary mon- 

But enough of the London " Times." 
We have in view matters not identified 
with the spirit and comments of a single 
newspaper, however influential. We have 
in view graver and more comprehensive 
facts, — facts, too, more significant of feel- 
ings and opinion. Stating our point in 
general terms, which we shall reduce to 
some particulars before we close, we af- 
firm frankly and emphatically, that the 
North, we might even say this Nation, as 
a government standing in solemn treaty 
relations with Great Britain, has just cause 
of complaint and offence at the prevailing 
tone and spirit of the English people, and 
press, and mercantile classes, towards us, 
in view of the rebellion which is convuls- 
ing our land. That tone and spirit have 
not been characterized by justice, mag- 
nanimity, or true sympathy with a noble 
and imperilled cause ; they have not been 
in keeping with the professions and avow- 
ed principles of that people ; they have 
not been consistent with the former inti- 
mations of English opinion towards us, as 
regards our position and our duty; and 
they have sadly disappointed the hopes 
on whose cheering support we had re- 
lied when the dark hours which English 
influence had helped to prepare for us 
should come. 

Before we proceed to our specifica- 
tions, let us meet the suggestion often 
thrown out, that we have been unduly 
and morbidly sensitive to English opin- 
ion in this matter ; and let us gratefully 
allow for the exceptions that may require 
to be recognized in the application of our 
charges against the English people or 
press as a whole. It has been said that 
we have shown a timid and almost cra- 
ven sensitiveness to the opinions pro- 
nounced abroad upon our national strug- 
gle, especially those pronounced by our 
own kinsfolk of England. It is urged, 
that a strong and prosperous and unit- 
ed people, if conscious of only a rightful 
cause, and professing the ability to main- 
tain it, should be self-reliant, independent 
of foreign judgment, and ready to trust to 
time and the sure candor and fulness of 
the expositions which it brings with it, to 


Why has the North feU aggrieved with England ? [November, 

set us right before the eyes of the world. 
But what if another nation, supposed to 
be friendly, known even to have rec- 
ommended and urged upon us the very 
cause for which we are contending, rep- 
resents it in such a contumelious and 
disheartening way as to show us that we 
have not even her sympathy ? Further, 
what if there is a spirit and a tone of 
treatment towards us which suggests the 
possibility that at some critical moment 
she may interfere in a way that will em- 
barrass us and encourage our enemies ? 
The sensitiveness of a people to the 
possible power of mischief that may lie 
against them in the hands of a jealous 
neighbor, ready to be used at the will or 
caprice of its possessor, may indicate ti- 
midity or weakness. But Great Britain, 
knowing very well what the feeling is, 
ought to understand that it may consist 
with real strength, courage, and right 
purposes. It is notorious now to all the 
civilized world, as a fact often ludicrous- 
ly and sometimes lugubriously set forth, 
that millions of sturdy English folk have 
lived for many years, and live at this 
hour, in a state of quaking trepidation as 
to the designs of a single man of " ideas " 
across their Channel. What bulletin have 
the English people ever read from day to 
day with such an intermittent pulse as 
that with which they peruse quotations 
from the " Moniteur " ? The English 
people, whatever might have been true 
of them once, are now the last people in 
the world — matched and overawed as 
they are by the French — to charge up- 
on another people a timid sensitiveness 
for even the slightest intimations of for- 
eign feeling and possible intentions. 

We must allow also for exceptions to 
the sweep of the specific charges under 
which we shall express our grievances at 
the general course of English treatment 
towards us. There have been messages 
in many private letters from Englishmen 
and Englishwomen of high public and 
of dignified private station, there have 
been editorials and communications in 
a few English papers, there have been 
brief utterances in Parlianlent, and from 

leading speakers at political, mercantile, 
literary, and religious assemblies, which 
have shown a full appreciation of the im- 
port of our present strife, and have con- 
veyed to us in words of most precious 
and grateful encouragement the assur- 
ance that many hearts are beating with 
ours across the sea. That the truculence 
and venom of some of our own papers 
may have repressed the feeling and the 
utterance of this same sympathy in many 
individuals and ways where it might oth- 
erwise have manifested itself is not un- 
natural, and is very probable. We ac- 
knowledge most gratefully the cheer and 
the inspiration which have come to us 
from every word, wish, and act from 
abroad that has recognized the stake of 
our conflict ; and we will take for grant- 
ed the real existence and the glowing 
heartiness of much of the same which has 
not been expressed, or has not reached 
us. Farther even than this we will go 
in tempering or qualifying the utterance 
of our grievances. We will take for 
granted that very much of the coldness, 
or antipathy, or contemptuousness, or 
misrepresentation which we have recog- 
nized in the general treatment of us and 
our cause by Englishmen is to be ac- 
counted to actual ignorance or a very 
partial understanding of our real circum- 
stances and of the conditions of the con- 
flict, and of the relations of parties to it. 
De Tocqueville is universally regarded 
among us as the only foreigner who ever 
divined the theoretical and the practical 
method of our institutions. Englishmen, 
English statesmen even, have never pen- 
etrated to the mystery of them. Many 
intelligent British travellers have seemed 
to wish to do so, and to have tried to do 
so. But the study bothers them, the 
secret bafiles them. They give it up 
with a gruif impatience which writes on 
their features the sentence, " You have 
no right to have such complicated and 
unintelligible arrangements In your gov- 
ernments, State and Federal : they are 
quite un-English." Our foreign kinsfolk 
seem unwilling to realize the extent of 
our domain, and the size of some of our 


Why has the North felt aggrieved with England ? 


States as compared with their own isl- 
and, and incapable of understanding how 
different institutions, forms, limitations, 
and governmental arrangements may ex- 
ist in the several States, independently 
of, or in subordination to, the province 
and administration of the Federal Gov- 
ernment. Nearly every English journal 
which undertakes to refer to our affairs 
will make ludicrous or serious blunders, 
if venturing to enter into details. The 
"Edinburgh Review" kindly volunteered 
to be the champion of American institu- 
tions and products in opposition to the ex- 
treme Toryism of the " Quarterly." Syd- 
ney Smith took us, our authors and early 
enterprises, under his special patronage, 
and he wrote many favorable articles 
of that character. One would have sup- 
posed, that. In the necessary preparation 
for such labors, he would have acquired 
some geographical, statistical, and other 
rudimentary knowledge about us, enough 
to have kept him from gross blunders. 
Unluckily, for him and for us, for the 
sake of getting here on his money double 
the interest which he could get at home, 
and not considering that the greater the 
promised profit the greater the risk, he 
made investments in some of our stock 
companies and bonds. When these in- 
vestments proved disastrous, he raved 
and fumed, calling upon our Govern- 
ment — which had nothing more to do 
with the matter than had the English 
Parliament — to make good his losses. 

We are tempted for a moment to drop 
the graver thread of our theme to relate 
an anecdote in Illustration of our present 
point. It happened a few years ago that 
we had as a household guest for two or 
three weeks an English gentleman, well- 
informed, courteous, and excellent, who 
had been for several years the editor of a 
London paper. On the day after his do- 
mestication with us, which was within the 
first week of his arrival at New York, 
sitting where we are now writing, after 
breakfast, he announced that " he had a 
commission to execute for a friend, with a 
person residing in Springfield." Opening 
his note-book, he handed us a slip of pa- 

per bearing the gentleman's name and ad- 
dress, " Springfield, Ohio." Furnishing 
him with writing-materials, we were about 
turning to our own occupation, when, sud^ 
denly, with a quick exclamation, as if 
recalling something, he said, " Sure, I 
have been in Springfield. I remember 
a short, a very short time was allowed 
for dinner, as I came from New York." 
We explained, or tried to explain to him, 
that the Springfield through which he had 
passed and the Springfield to which he was 
writing were in different States widely 
separated, and that there were also sev- 
eral other " Springfields." To this he 
demurred, protesting that it made mat- 
ters quite confusing to foreigners to have 
the same names repeated in different 
parts of the country. In vain did we 
suggest that all confusion was avoided by 
adding the abbreviated name of the State. 
No ! " It was very confusing." Sudden- 
ly, a thought occurred to us, and, refresh- 
ing our memory by a glance at the Index 
of our English " Road-Book," we suggest- 
ed triumphantly that names were repeat- 
ed for different localities in England: 
thus, there are four Ashfords, two Dor- 
chesters, six Hortons, seven Newports, 
etc., etc. Our guest, with an air and ve- 
hemence that quite outvied our triumph, 
exclaimed, — " Oh ! but they are in dif- 
ferent shirrrhes, in different shirrrhes 1 " 
Sure enough, one of his own shires is a 
larger thing to an Englishman than one 
of our States. He lives on an island 
which is to him larger than all the rest of 
the world, though any one starting from 
the centre of it, on a fast ho7'se, unless he 
crossed the border into Scotland, could 
scarcely ride in any direction twenty-four 
hours without getting overboard. 

To the actual ignorance or obfuscation 
of mind of the majority of the English 
people, as regards our country and its in- 
stitutions, we are doubtless to refer much 
of the ill-toned and seemingly unfriendly 
comments made upon our affairs in their 
organs. Thus, it is intimated to us by 
many English writers, that they regard 
the North now as simply undertaking to 
patch up a Union founded and sustained 


WTiy has the North felt aggrieved with England'^ [November, 

by mean compromises, an object which 
has already led us into many humiliating 
concessions, — and that the moment we 
announce that we are striking a blow for 
Liberty, we shall have their sympathy 
without stint or measure. No English- 
man who really understood our affairs 
would talk in that way. One of the chief 
lures which instigated and encouraged the 
Southern rebellion was the assurance, 
adroitly insinuated by the leading trai- 
tors into their duped followers, that oppo- 
sition by the rest of the country to their 
schemes would take the form of an anti- 
slavery crusade, in which form the oppo- 
sition would be put down by the combin- 
ed force of those who did not belong to 
the Republican party. They were de- 
ceived. Opposition to them took the 
form of a rallying by all parties to the 
defence of the Constitution, the mainten- 
ance of the Union. For any anti- sla- 
very zeal to have attempted to divert 
the aroused patriotism of the land to a 
breach of one of its fundamental constitu- 
tional provisions would have been treach- 
erous and futile. The majority of our 
enlisted patriotic soldiers would have laid 
down their arms. If the leadings of Provi- 
dence shall direct the thickening strife into 
an exterminating crusade against slavery, 
doubtless our patriots will wait on Provi- 
dence. But we could not have started 
in our stern work avowing that as an ob- 
ject of our own. And as to the mean- 
ness of our concessions and compromises 
for Union, we have to consider what woes 
and wrongs that Union has averted. Has 
England no discreditable passages in her 
own Parliamentary history ? Have her 
attempts at governing large masses of 
men. Christian and heathen, Roman Cath- 
olic and Protestant, and of all sects, priv- 
ileged and oppressed, never led her into 
any truckling or tyrannical legislation, 
any concessions or compromises of ideal 
or abstract right ? 

But we must come to our specifications, 
introducing them with but a single other 
needful suggestion. We have not to 
complain of any acts or formal measures 
of the English Government against us, — 

nor even of the omission of any possible 
public manifestation which might have 
turned to our encouragement or service. 
But it will be admitted that we have griev- 
ances to complain of, if the tone and the 
strain of EngUsh opinion and sentiment 
have been such as to inspirit the South 
and to dispirit the North. If English com- 
ments have palliated or justified the origi- 
nal and the incidental measures of the Re- 
bellion, — if they have been zealous to find 
or to exaggerate excuses for it, to over- 
state the apparent or professed grounds 
of it, to wink at the meannesses and out- 
rages by which it has thriven, — if they 
have perverted or misrepresented the 
real issue, have ridiculed or discouraged 
the purposes of its patriotic opponents, 
have embarrassed or impeded their hopes 
of success, or have prejudged or fore- 
closed the probable result, — it will be 
admitted, we say, that we have grievan- 
ces against those who have so dealt by 
us in the hour of our dismay and trial. 
And it is an enormous aggravation of the 
disappointment or the wrong which we 
are bearing, that it is visited upon us by 
England just as we have initiated meas- 
ures for at least restraining and abating 
the dominant power of that evil institu- 
tion for our complicity in the support of 
which she has long been our unsparing 
censor. We complain generally of the 
unsympathizing and contemptuous tone 
of England towards us, — of the mercu- 
rial standard by which she judges our 
strife, — of the scarcely qualified delight 
with which she parades our occasional 
ill-successes and discomfitures, — of the 
haste which she has made to find tokens 
of a rising despotism or a military dicta- 
torship in those measures of our Govern- 
ment which are needful and consistent 
with the exigencies of a state of warfare, 
such as the suspension, on occasions, of 
the habeas corpus^ the suppression of dis- 
loyal publications, the employment of 
spies, and the requisition of passports, — 
and finally, of the contemptible service 
to which England has tried to put our 
last tariff, and of her evident unwilling- 
ness to have us find or furnish the finan- 


Why has the North felt aggrieved with England ? 


ces of our war. Not to deal, however, 
with generalities, we proceed to make 
three distinct points of an argument that 
crowds us with materials. 

Foremost among the grievances which 
we at the North may allege against our 
brethren across the water — foremost, both 
in time and In the harmful influence of 
its working — we may specify this fact, 
that the English press, with scarce an 
exception, made haste. In the very earli- 
est stages of the Southern Rebellion, to 
judge and announce the hopeless parti- 
tion of our Union, as an event accom- 
plished and irrevocable. The way in 
which this judgment was reached and 
pronounced, the time and circumstances 
of its utterance, and the foregone con- 
clusions which were drawn from it, gave 
to it a threatening and mischievous agen- 
cy, only less prejudicial to our cause, we 
verily believe, than would have been an 
open alliance between England and the 
enemies of the Republic. This haste to 
announce the positive and accomplished 
dissolution of our National Union was 
forced most painfully upon our notice in 
the darkest days of our opening strife. 
Those who undertook to guide and in- 
struct English opinion in the matter had 
easy means of informing themselves about 
the strangely fortuitous and deplorable, 
though most opportune and favoring com- 
bination of circumstances under which 
" Secession " was Initiated and strength- 
ened. They knew that the Administra- 
tion, then in its last days of power, was 
half- covertly, half- avowedly In sympa- 
thy and in active cooperation with the 
cause of rebellion. The famous " Ostend 
Conference" had had its doings and de- 
signs so thoroughly aired In the columns 
of the English press, that we cannot sup- 
pose either the editors or the readers 
ignorant of the spirit or intentions of 
those who controlled the policy of that 
Administration. Early Information like- 
wise crossed the water to them of the dis- 
creditable and Infamous doings and plot- 
tings of members of the Cabinet, evident- 
ly In league with the fomenting treach- 
ery. They knew that the head of the 

Navy Department had either scattered 
our ships of war to the ends of the earth, 
or had moored them in helpless disability 
at our dockyards, — that the head of the 
War Department had been plundering 
the arsenals of loyal States to furnish 
weapons for Intended rebellion, — that 
the head of the Treasury Department 
was purloining its funds, — and that the 
President himself, while allowing na- 
tional forts to be environed by hostile 
batteries, had formally announced that 
both Secession itself and all attempts 
to resist it were alike unconstitutional, — 
the effect of which grave opinion was to 
let Secession have its way till Coercion 
would seem to be not only unconstitution- 
al, but unavailing. Our English kinsfolk 
also knew that our prominent diplomatic 
agents abroad, representing solemn trea- 
ty relations with them of this nation as a 
unit, under sacred oaths of loyalty to it, 
and living on generous grants from its 
Treasury, were also In more or less of 
active sympathy with traitorous schemes. 
So far, it must be owned, there was little In 
the promise of whatever might grow from 
these combined enormities to engage the 
confidence or the good wishes of true-heart- 
ed persons on either side of the water. 

But whatever power of mischief lay 
in this marvellous combination of evil 
forces, so malignly working together, the 
Administration in which they found their 
life and whose agencies they employed 
was soon to yield up its fearfully dese- 
crated trust. A new order of things, 
representing at least the spirit and pur- 
pose of that philanthropy and public 
righteousness to which our English breth- 
ren had for years been prompting us, 
was to come in with a new Administra- 
tion, already constitutionally recognized, 
but not as yet put into power. It was 
asking but little of intelligent foreigners 
of our own blood and language, that they 
should make due allowance for that re- 
curring period in the terms of our Gov- 
ernment—as easily turned to mischiev- 
ous influences as is an interregnum in 
a monarchy — by which there is a lapse 
of four months between the election and 


Why has the North felt aggrieved with England'^ [November, 

the inauguration of our Chief Magistrate. 
A retiring functionary may work and 
plan and provide an immense amount of 
disabling, annoying, and damaging ex- 
perience to be encountered by his suc- 
cessor. That successor may at a dis- 
tance, or close at hand, be an observer 
of all this influence ; but whether it be 
simply of a partisan or of a malignant 
character, he is powerless to resist it, 
and good taste and the proprieties of his 
position seem to suggest that he make no 
public recognition of it. Every Chief 
Magistrate of this Republic, before its 
present head, acceded to office with its 
powers and dignities and facilities and 
trusts unimpaired by his predecessor. 
We have thought that among the thorns 
of the pillow on which a certain " old 
public functionary " lays his head, as he 
watches the dismal working of elements 
which he had more power than any oth- 
er to have dispelled, not the least sharp 
one must be that which pierces him with 
the thought of the difference between the 
position which his predecessors prepared 
for him and that which he prepared for 
his successor. Not among the least of 
the claims which that successor has up- 
on the profound and respectful sympathy 
of all good men everywhere is the fact 
that there has been no public utterance 
of complaining or reproachful words from 
his lips, reflecting upon his predecessor, 
or even asking indulgence on the score 
of the shattered and almost wrecked 
fabric of which we have put him in 
charge. We confess that we have look- 
ed through the English papers for months 
for some magnanimous and hlgh-souled 
tribute of this sort to the Man who thus 
nobly represents a sacred and imperilled 
cause. If such tribute has been ren- 
dered, it has escaped our notice. 

Now, as we are reflecting upon the 
tone and spirit of the English press at 
the opening of the Rebellion, we have to 
recall to the minds of our readers the 
fact, that in all its early stages, even 
down to and almost after the proclama- 
tion of the President summoning a vol- 
unteer force to resist it, we ourselves, at 

the North, utterly refused to consider the 
Seceders as in earnest. AVe may have 
been stu{)ld, besotted, infatuated even, in 
our blindness and incredulity. But none 
the less did we, that is, the great major- 
ity of us, regard all the threats and meas- 
ures of the South as something less for- 
midable and actual than open war and 
probable or threatening revolution. We 
were persuaded that the people of the 
South had been wrought up by artful 
and ambitious leaders to wild alarm that 
the new Administration would visit out- 
rages upon them and try to turn them 
into a state of vassalage. Utterly un- 
conscious as we were of any purpose to 
trespass upon or reduce their fullest con- 
stitutional rights, we knew how grossly 
our intentions were misrepresented to 
them. We applied the same measure 
to the distance between their threats and 
the probability that they would carry 
them out which we knew ought to be 
applied to the difference between our 
supposed and our real intentions. In a 
word, — for this is the simple truth, — we re- 
garded the manifestations of the seceding 
and rebelling States — or rather of the 
leaders and their followers in them — 
as in part bluster and in part a warning 
of what might ensue, though it would 
not be likely to ensue when their eyes 
were open to the truth. We were met 
by bold defiance, by outrageous abuse, 
and with an almost overwhelming vent- 
ing of falsehoods. There was boastful- 
ness, arrogance, assured claims of suffi- 
cient strength, and daring prophecies of 
success, enough to have made any cause 
triumphant, if triumph comes through 
such means. Still we were incredulous, 
perhaps foolishly and culpably so, — but 
incredulous, and unintimldated, and con- 
fident, none the less. We believed that 
wise, forbearing, and temperate meas- 
ures of the new Administration would 
remove all real grievances, dispel all false 
alarms, and at least leave open the way 
to bloodless methods of preserving the 
Union. Part of our infatuation consist- 
ed in our seeing so plainly the infatu- 
ation of the South, while we did not 


WJiy has the North felt aggrieved with England ? 


allow for the lengths of wild and reck- 
less folly into which it might drive them. 
We could see most plainly that either suc- 
cess in their schemes, or failure through 
a struggle to accomplish them, would be 
alike ruinous to them ; that no cause 
standing on the basis and contemplat- 
ing the objects recognized by them could 
possibly prosper, so long as the throne 
of heaven had a sovereign seated upon 
it. Full as much, then, from our con- 
viction that the South would not insist 
upon doing itself such harm as from 
any fear of what might happen to us, 
did we refuse to regard Secession as a 
fixed fact. At the period of which we 
are speaking, there was probably not a 
single man at the North, of well-fur- 
nished and well-balanced mind — Avho 
stood clear in heart and pocket of all se- 
cret or interested bias toward the South 
— that deliberately recognized the prob- 
ability of the dissolution of the Union. 
Very few such men will, indeed, recog- 
nize that possibility now, except as they 
recognize the possibility of the destruc- 
tion of an edifice of solid blocks and 
stately columns by the grinding to pow- 
der of each large mass of the fabric, so 
that no rebuilding could restore it. 

This was the state of mind and feel- 
ing with which we, who had so much at 
stake and could watch every pulsation 
of the excitement, contemplated the as- 
pect of our opening strife. But with the 
first echo from abroad of its earliest an- 
nouncements here came the most posi- 
tive averments in the English papers, 
with scarcely a single exception, that 
the knell of this Union had struck. We 
had fallen asunder, our bond was broken, 
we had repudiated our former league or 
fellowship, and henceforth what had been 
a unit was to be two or more fragments, 
in peaceful or hostile relations as the 
case might be, but never again One. It 
would but revive for us the first really 
sharp and irritating pangs of this dismal 
experience, to go over the files of papers 
for those extracts which were like vinegar 
to our eyes as we first read them. Their 
substance is repeated to us in the sheets 

which come by every steamer. There 
were, of course, variations of tone and 
spirit in these evil prognostications and 
these raven-like croaks. Sometimes there 
was a vein of pity, and of that kind of 
sorrow which we feel and of that other 
kind which we express for other people's 
troubles. Sometimes there was a start 
of surprise, an ejaculation of amazement, 
or even profound dismay, at the calami- 
ty which had come upon us. In others 
of these newspaper comments there was 
that unmistakable superciliousness, that 
goading contemptuousness of self-conceit 
and puffy disdain, which John Bull visits 
on all "un-English" things, especially 
when they happen under their unfortu- 
nate aspects. In not a few of these same 
comments there was a tone of exultation, 
malignant and almost diabolical, as at 
the discomfiture of a hated and danger- 
ous rival. We have read at least three 
English newspapers for each week that 
has passed since our troubles began ; we 
have been readers of these papers for a 
score of years. In not one of them have 
we met the sentence or the line which pro- 
nounces hopefully, with bold assurance, 
for the renewed life of our Union. lu 
by far the most of them there is reiter- 
ated the most positive and dogged aver- 
ment that there is no future for us. We 
are not unmindful of the manliness and 
stout cheer with which a very few of 
them have avowed their wish and faith 
that the Rebels may be utterly discom- 
fited and held up before the world in their 
shame and friendlessness, and have coup- 
led with these utterances words of warm 
sympathy and approval for the North. 
But these ill -wishes for the one party 
and these good wishes for the other 
party are independent of anything but 
utter hopelessness as to the preservation 
or the restoration of the Union. 

Now some may suggest that we make 
altogether too much of what so far is but 
the expression of an opinion, and, at 
worst, of an unfavorable opinion, — an 
opinion, too, which may yet prove to be 
correct. But the giving of an opinion on 
some matters has all the efiect of taking 


Why has the North felt aggrieved with England'^ [November, 

a side, and often helps much to decide 
the stake. On very many accounts, this 
expression of English opinion, at the time 
it was uttered and with such emphasis, 
was most unwarranted and most mis- 
chievous. It is very easy to distribute 
its harmful influence upon our interests 
and prospects into three very different 
methods, all of which combined to injure 
or obstruct the Northern cause, — the 
National cause. Thus, this opinion of 
the hopelessness of our resistance of the 
ruin of our Union was of great value to 
the Rebels as an encouragement under 
any misgivings they might have ; it was 
calculated to prejudice our position in 
the eyes of the world ; and it had a ten- 
dency to dispirit many among ourselves. 
A word upon each of these points. — How 
quickening must it have been to the flag- 
ging hopes or determination of the Rebels 
to read in the English journals that they 
were sure of success, that the result was 
already registered, that they had gain- 
ed their purpose simply by proposing it 1 
Nor was it possible to regard this opinion 
as not carrying with it some implication 
that the cause of the Rebels was a just 
one, and was sure of success, if for other 
reasons, for this, too, among them, name- 
ly, that it was just. Why else were the 
Rebels so sure of a triumph? Was it 
because of their superior strength or 
resources ? A very little inquiry would 
have set aside that suggestion. Was it 
because of the nobleness of their cause ? 
A very frank avowal from the Vice- 
President of the assumed Confederacy 
announced to liberty-loving Englishmen 
that that cause was identified with a 
slavocracy. Or was the Rebel cause to 
succeed through the dignity and purity 
of the means enlisted in its service V It 
was equally well known on both sides of 
the water by what means and appliances 
of fraud, perfidy, treachery, and other 
outrages, the schemes of the Rebellion 
were initiated and pursued. If, in spite 
of all these negatives, the English press 
prophesies success to the Rebels, was not 
the prophecy a great comfort and spur 
to them? — Again, this prophecy of our 

sure discomfiture prejudiced us before the 
world. It gave a public character and 
aspect of hopelessness to our cause ; it in- 
vited coldness of treatment towards us ; 
it seemed to warn off all nations from civ- 
ing us aid or comfort ; and it virtually af- 
firmed that any outlay of means or life by 
us in a cause seen to be impracticable 
would be reckless, sanguinary, cruel, and 
inhuman. — And, once more, to those 
among ourselves who are influenced by 
evil prognostications, it was most dispirit- 
ing to be told, as if by cool, unprejudiced 
observers from outside, that no uprising 
of patriotism, no heroism of sacrifice, no 
combination of wisdom and power would 
be of any avail to resist a foreordained 
catastrophe. — In these three harmful ways 
of influence, the ill-omened opinion reit- 
erated from abroad had a tendency to 
fulfil itself. The whole plea of justifica- 
tion offered abroad for the opinion is giv- 
en in the assertion that those who have 
once been bitterly alienated can never 
be brought into true harmony again, and 
that it is impossible to govern the unwill- 
ing as equals. England has but to read 
the record of her own strifes and battles 
and infuriated passages with Scotland 
and Ireland, — between whom and her- 
self alienations of tradition, prejudice, 
and religion seemed to make harmony as 
impossible as the promise of it is to these 
warring States, — England has only to 
refresh her memory on these points, in 
order to relieve us of the charge of folly 
in attempting an impossibility. So much 
for the first grievance we allege against 
our English brethren. 

Another of our specifications of wrong 
is involved in that already considered. 
If English opinion decided that our na- 
tionality must henceforth be divided, it 
seemed also to imply that we ought to 
divide according to terms dictated by the 
Seceders. This was a precious judgment 
to be pronounced against us by a sister 
Government which was standing in sol- 
emn treaty relations with us as a unit in 
our nationality ! What did England sup- 
pose had become of our Northern man- 
hood, of the spirit of which she herself 

1861.] Why has the North felt aggrieved with England'^ 


once felt the force ? There was some- 
thing alike humiliating and exasperating 
in this implied advice from her, that we 
should tamely and unresistingly submit 
to a division of continent, bays, and riv- 
ers, according to terms defiantly and in- 
sultingly proposed by those who had a 
joint ownership with ourselves. How 
would England receive such advice from 
us under hke circumstances ? But we 
must cut short the utterance of our feel- 
ings on this point, that we may make 
another specification, — 

Which is, that our English critics see 
only, or chiefly, in the fearful and mo- 
mentous conflict in which we are en- 
gaged, " a bursting of the bubble of De- 
mocracy " ! Shall we challenge now the 
intelligence or the moral principle, the 
lack of one or the other of which is be- 
trayed in this sneering and malignant 
representation — this utter misrepresen- 
tation — of the catastrophe which has be- 
fallen our nation? Intelligent English- 
men know full well that the issue raised 
among us does not necessarily touch or 
involve at a single point the principles 
of Democracy, but stands wide apart and 
distinct from them. We might with as 
much propriety have said that the Irish 
Rebellion and the Indian Mutiny show- 
ed " the bursting of the bubble of Mon- 
archy." The principles of Democracy 
stand as firm and find our people as loy- 
al to them in every little town -meeting 
and in every legislature of each loyal 
State in the Union as they did in the 
days of our first enthusiastic and suc- 
cessful trial of them. Supposing even 
that the main assumption on which so 
many Englishmen have prematurely vent- 
ed their scorn were a fact ; we cannot 
but ask if the nation nearest akin to 
us, and professing to be guided in this 
century by feelings which forbid a re- 
joicing over others' great griefs, has no 
words of high moral sympathy, no ex- 
pressions of regretful disappointment in 
our calamities ? Is it the first or the most 
emphatic thing which it is most fitting 
for Christian Englishmen to say over the 
supposed wreck of a recently noble and 

promising country, the prospered home 
of thirty millions of God's children, — 
that " a bubble has burst " ? We might 
interchange with our foreign "comfort* 
ers " a discussion by arguments and facts 
as to whether a monarchy or a democ- 
racy has about it more of the qualities 
of a bubble, but the debate would be 
irrelevant to our present purpose. We 
believe that Democracy in its noblest and 
all -essential and well -proved principles 
will survive the shock which has struck 
upon our nation, whatever the result of 
that shock may yet prove to be. We 
believe, further, that the principles of 
Democracy will come out of the struggle 
which is trying, not themselves, but some- 
thing quite distinct from them, with a new 
aifirmation and vindication. But let that 
be as it may, we are as much ashamed 
for England's sake as we are aggrieved 
on our own account that from the ve- 
hicles of public sentiment in " the fore- 
most realm in the world fot all true cul- 
ture, advanced progress, and the glorious 
triumphs of liberty and religion," what 
should be a profoundly plaintive lament 
over our supposed ruin is, in reality, a 
mocking taunt and a hateful gibe over 
our failure in daring to try an " un-Eng- 
lish" experiment.* 

* The following precious utterances of John 
Bull moralizing, which might have been spok- 
en of the Thugs in India, or of some provin- 
cial Chinese enterprise, are extracted from the 
cotton circular of Messrs. Neill, Brothers, ad- 
dressed to their correspondents, and dated, 
Manchester, Aug. 21. We find the circular 
copied in a religious newspaper published in 
London, without any rebuke. " The North 
will have to learn the limited extent of her 
powers as compared with the gigantic task 
she has undertaken. One and perhaps two 
defeats will be insufficient to reverse the false 
education of a lifetime. Many lessons will 
probably be necessary, and, meantime, any 
success the Northern troops may obtain will 
again inflame the national vanity, and the 
lessons of adversity will need to be learned 
over again. More effect will probably be pro- 
duced by sufferings at home, by the ruin of 
the higher classes and pauperization of the 
lower, and by the general absorption of the 
floating capital of the country " ! There, good 
reader, what think you of the cotton moral- 


Why has the North felt aggrieved loith England'^ [November, 

The stately " Quarterly Review," in its 
number for July, uses a little more of 
dignity in wording the title of an article 
upon our affairs thus, — " Democracy on 
its Trial " ; but it makes up for the waste 
of refinement upon its text by a lavish 
indulgence in scurrility and falsehood in 
its comments. As a specimen, take the 
following. Living here in this goodly 
city of Boston, and knowing and loving 
well its ways and people, we are asked 
to credit the following story, which the 
Reviewer says he heard from " a well- 
known traveller." The substance of the 
story is, that a Boston merchant proposed 
to gild the lamp over his street-door, but 
was dissuaded from so doing by the sug- 
gestion of a friend, that by savoring of 
aristocracy the ornamented gas-burner 
would offend the tyrannical people and 
provoke violence against it ! This, the 
latest joke in the solemn Quarterly, has 
led many of its readers here to recall the 
days of Madame Trollope and the Rev- 
erend Mr. Fiddler, those veracious ^d 
" well-known travellers." There are, we 
are sorry to say, many gilded street-lamps, 
burnished and blazing every night, in Bos- 
ton. But instead of standing before the 
houses of our merchants, they designate 
quite a different class of edifices. Our 
merchants, as a general thing, would ob- 
ject, both on the score of good taste and 
on grounds of disagreeable association 
with the signal, to raise such an orna- 
ment before the doors of their comfort- 
able homes. The common people, how- 
ever, so far from taking umbrage at the 
spectacle, would be rather gratified by 
the generosity of our grandees in being 
willing to show some of their finery out 
of doors. This would be the feelinjj 
especially of that part of our population 
which is composed of foreigners, who 
have been used to the sight of such 
demonstrations in their native countries, 
which are not democracies. In fact, 
we suspect that the reason why English 

izing of a comfortable factor, dwelling in im- 
maculate England, dealing with us in cotton, 
and with the Chinese in opium? 

"flunkeys" hate American "flunkeyism," 
with its laced coachmen, etc., is because 
mere money, by aping the insignia of 
rank, its gewgaws and trumpery, shows 
too plainly how much of the rank itself 
depends upon the fabrics and demonstra- 
tions through which it sets itself forth. 
We can conceive that an English noble- 
man travelling in this country, who might 
chance in one of our cities to see a turn- 
out with its outriders, tassels, and crests, 
almost or quite as fine as his own, if he 
were informed that it belonged to a ple- 
beian who had grown vastly rich through 
some coarse traffic, might resolve to re- 
duce all the display of his own equipage 
the moment he reached home. The la- 
bored and mean-spirited purpose of the 
writer of the aforesaid article in the 
Quarterly, and of other writers of like 
essays, is to find in our democracy the 
material and occasion of everything of 
a discreditable sort which occurs in our 
land. Now we apprehend, not without 
some means of observation and inquiry, 
that the state and features of society in 
Great Britain and in all our Northern 
regions are almost identically the same, 
or run in parallelisms, by which we might 
match every phenomenon, incident, prej- 
udice, and folly, every good and every 
bad trait and manifestation in the one 
place with something exactly like it in 
the other. During a whole score of 
years, as we have read the English jour- 
nals and our own, the thought has over 
and over again suggested itself to us that 
any one who had leisure and taste for 
the task might cut out from each series 
of papers respectively, for a huge com- 
monplace book, matters of a precisely 
parallel nature in both countries. A 
simple difference in the names of men 
and of places would be all that would 
appear or exist. Every noble and every 
mean and every mixed exhibition of char- 
acter, — every act of munificence and of 
baseness, — every narrative of thrilling or 
romantic interest, — every instance and 
example of popular delusion, humbug, 
man-worship, breach of trust, domestic 
infelicity, and of cunning or astounding 

1861.] Why has the North felt aggrieved with England'^ 


depravity and hypocrisy, — every relig- 
ious, social, and political excitement, — 
every panic, — and every accident even, 
from carelessness or want of skill, — each 
and all these have their exact parallels, 
generally within the same year of time 
in Great Britain and in our own coun- 
try. The crimes and the catastrophes, 
in each locality, have seemed almost 
repetitions of the same things on either 
continent. Munificent endowments of 
charitable institutions, zeal in reforma- 
tory enterprises and in the correction of 
abuses, have shown that the people of 
both regions stand upon the same plane 
of humanity and practical Christian cul- 
ture. The same great frauds have indi- 
cated in each the same amount of rotten- 
ness in men occupying places of trust. 
Both regions have had the same sort of 
unprincipled " railway kings " and bank- 
ers, similar railroad disasters, similar cases 
of the tumbling down of insecure walls, 
and of wife-poisoning. A Chartist insur- 
rection enlists a volunteer police in Lon- 
don, and an apprehended riot among for- 
eigners is met by a similar precaution in 
one of our cities. An intermittent con- 
troversy goes on in England about the 
interference of religion with common ed- 
ucation, and Boston or New York is agi- 
tated at the same time with the ques- 
tion about the use of the Bible in the 
public schools. Boston rowdies mob an 
English intermeddler with the ticklish 
matters of our national policy, and Eng- 
lish rowdies mob an Austrian Haynau. 
England goes into ecstasies over the visit 
of a Continental Prince, and our North- 
ern States repeat the demonstration over 
the visit of a British Prince. The Duke 
of Wellington alarms his fellow-subjects 
by suggesting that their national defences 
would all prove insufficient against the 
assaults of a certain terrible Frenchman, 
and an American cabinet official echoes 
the suggestion that England may, per- 
haps, try her strength in turn against us. 
There are evidently a great many bub- 
bles in this world, and, for all that we 
know to the contrary, they are all equal- 
ly liable to burst. Some famous ones, 

bright in royal hues, have burst within 
the century. Some more of the same 
may, not impossibly, suffer a collapse be- 
fore the century has closed. So that, for 
this matter, " the bubble of Democracy " 
must take its chance with the rest. 

We have one more specification to 
make under our general statement of rea- 
sons why the North feels aggrieved with 
the prevailing tone of sentiment and 
comment in the English journals in ref- 
erence to our great calamity. We pro- 
test against the verdict which finds ex- 
pression in all sorts of ways and with 
various aggravations, that, in attempting 
to rupture our Union, and to withdraw 
from it on their own terms, at their own 
pleasure, the seceding States are but re- 
peating the course of the old Thirteen 
Colonies in declaring themselves inde- 
pendent, and sundering their ties to the 
mother country. There is evidently 
the rankling of an old smart in this plea 
for rebels, which, while it is not intended 
to justify rebellion in itself, is devised as 
a vindication of rebels against rebels. 
There is manifest satisfaction and a high 
zest, and something of the morally aw- 
ful and solemnly remonstrative, in the 
way in which the past is evoked to visit 
its ghostly retribution upon us. The old 
sting rankles in the English breast. She 
is looking on now to see us hoist by our 
own petard. These pamphlet pages, with 
their circumscribed limits and their less 
ambitious aims, do not invite an elaborate 
dealing with the facts of the case, which 
would expose the sophistical, if not the 
vengeful spirit of this English plea, as 
for rebels against rebels. A thorough 
exposition of the relations which the 
present Insurrection bears to the for- 
mer Revolution would demand an essay. 
The relations between them, however, 
whether stated briefly or at length, would 
be found to be simply relations of dlffisr- 
ence, without one single point of resem- 
blance, much less of coincidence. We 
can make but the briefest reference to 
the points of contrast and unlikeness be- 
tween the two things, after asserting that 
they have no one common feature. It 


Wliy has the North felt aggrieved with England ? [November, 

miglit seem evasive in us to suggest to 
our English critics that they should re- 
fresh their memories about the causes and 
the justification of our Revolution by read- 
ing the pages of their own Burke. We 
are content to rest our case on his ar^u- 
ment, simply affirming that on no one 
point will it cover the alleged parallel- 
ism of the Southern Rebellion. 

The relations of our States to each 
other and to the Union are quite unlike 
those in which the Colonies stood to Eng- 
land. England claimed by right of dis- 
covery and exploration the soil on which 
her Colonies here were planted, though 
she had rival claimants from the very 
first. A large number of the Colonists 
never had any original connection with 
England, and owed her no allegiance. 
Holland, Sweden, and other countries 
furnished much of the first stock of our 
settlers, who thought they were occupy- 
ing a wild part of God's earth rather 
than a portion of the English domin- 
ions. The Colonies were not planted at 
public charge, by Government cost or 
enterprise. The English exiles, with 
but slender grounds of grateful remem- 
brance of the land they had left, brought 
■with them their own private means, sub- 
dued a wilderness, extinguished the ab- 
original titles, and slowly and wearily 
developed the resources of the country. 
Often in their direst straits did they de- 
cline to ask aid from England, lest they 
might thereby furnish a plea for her in- 
terference with their internal affairs. Sev- 
eral of the Colonies from the first acted 
upon their presumed independence, and 
resolved on the frank assertion of it as 
soon as they might dare the venture. 
That time for daring happened to be 
contemporaneous with a tyrannical de- 
mand upon them for tribute without rep- 
resentation. Thus the relations of the Col- 
onies to England were of a hap-hazard, 
abnormal, incidental, and always un- 
settled character. They might be modi- 
fied or changed without any breach of 
contract. They might be sundered with- 
out perjury or perfidy. 

How unlike in all respects are the re- 

lations of these States to each other and 
to the Union ! Drawn together after 
dark days and severe trials, — solemnly 
pledged to each other by the people 
whom the Union raised to a full citizen- 
ship in the Republic, — bound by a com- 
pact designed to be without limitation of 
time, — lifted by their consolidation to a 
place and fame and prosperity which 
they would never else have reached, — 
mutually necessary to each other's thrift 
and protection, — making a nation adapt- 
ed by its organic constitution to the re- 
gion of the earth which it occupies,— and 
now, by previous memories and tradi- 
tions, by millions of social and domestic 
alliances, knit by heart-strings the sun- 
dering of which will be followed by a 
flow of the life-blood till all is spent, — 
these terms are but a feeble setting forth 
of the relations of these States to each 
other and to the Union. Some of these 
States which have been voted out of the 
Union by lawless Conventions owe their 
creation to the Union. Their very soil has 
been paid for out of the public treasury. 
Indeed, the Union is still in debt under 
obligations incurred by their purchase. 

How striking, too, is the contrast be- 
tween the character and method of the 
proceedings which originated and now 
sustain the Rebellion, and those which 
initiated and carried through the Revo- 
lution ! The Rebellion exhibits to us a 
complete inversion of the course of meas- 
ures which inaugurated the Revolution. 
" Secession " was the invention of am- 
bitious leaders, who overrode the forms 
of law, and have not dared to submit 
their votes and their doings to primary 
meetings of the people whom they have 
driven with a despotic tyranny. In the 
Revolution the people themselves were 
the prime movers. Each little country 
town and municipality of the original 
Colonies, that has a hundred years of 
history to be written, will point us boast- 
fully to entries in its records showing how 
it instructed its representatives first to 
remonstrate against tyranny, and then 
to resist it by successive measures, each 
of which, with its limitations and its in- 


T}ie Wild Endive, 


creasing boldness, was dictated by tlie 
same people. The people of Virginia, re- 
membering the ancient precedent which 
won them their renown, intended to fol- 
low it in an early stage of our present 
strife. They allowed a Convention to 
assemble, under the express and rigid 
condition, that, if it should see fit to ad- 
vise any measure which would afiect the 
relations of their State to the Union, a 
reference should be made of it, prior to 
any action, to the will of the people. The 
Convention covertly and treacherously 
abused its trust. In secret session it 
authorized measures on the strength of 
which the Governor of the State proceed- 
ed to put it into hostile relations with 
the Union. When the foregone conclu- 
sion was at last farcically submitted to 
the people, a perjured Senator of the 
National Congress notified such of them 
as would not ratify the will of the Con- 
vention, that they must leave the State. 

Once more, in our Revolution, holders 
of office and of lucrative trusts in the in- 
terest of England were to a man loyal 
to the Home Government, and our inde- 
pendence was efiected without any base 
appliances. In the work of secession 

and rebellion, the very officials and sworn 
guardians of our Government have been 
the foremost plotters. They have used 
their opportunities and their trusts for 
the most perfidious purposes. Nothing 
but perjury in the very highest places 
could have initiated secession and rebel- 
lion, and to this very moment they de- 
rive all their vigor in the council-cham- 
ber and on the field from forsworn men, 
most of whom have been trained from 
their childhood, nurtured, instructed, and 
fed, and all of whom have been fostered 
in their manhood, and gifted with their 
whole power for harming her, by the kind- 
ly mother whose life they are assailing. 
If the Man with the Withered Hand had 
used the first thrill of life and vigor com- 
ing into it by the word of the Great Phy- 
sician to aim a blow at his benefactor, 
his ingratitude would have needed to 
stand recorded only until this year of our 
Lord, to have been matched by deeds 
of men who have thrown this dear land 
of ours into universal mourning. Yet 
our English brethren would try to per- 
suade us that these men are but repeat- 
ing the course and the deeds of the Amer- 
ican Revolution ! 


Only the dusty common road, 
The glaring weary heat ; 

Only a man with a soldier's load. 
And the sound of tired feet. 


Only the lonely creaking hum 

Of the Cicada's song ; 
Only a fence where tall weeds come 

With spiked fingers strong. 

Only a drop of the heaven's blue 

Left in a way-side cup ; 
Only a joy for the plodding few 

And eyes that look not up. 

Only a weed to the passer-by, 

Growing among the rest ; — 
Yet something clear as the light of the sky 

It lodges in my breast. 


The Contrabands at Fortress Monroe. 



In the month of August, 1620, a Dutch 
man-of-war from Guinea entered James 
River and sold " twenty negars." Such is 
the brief record left by John Rolfe, whose 
name is honorably associated with that of 
Pocahontas. This was the first importa- 
tion of the kind into the country, and the 
source of existing strifes. It was fitting 
that the system which from that slave- 
ship had been spreading over the conti- 
nent for nearly two centuries and a half 
should yield for the first time to the logic 
of military law almost upon the spot of its 
origin. The coincidence may not inap- 
propriately introduce what of experience 
and reflection the writer has to relate of 
a three-months' soldier's life in Virginia. 

On the morning of the 22d of May last, 
Major- General Butler, welcomed with a 
military salute, arrived at Fortress Mon- 
roe, and assumed the command of the De- 
partment of Virginia. Hitherto we had 
been hemmed up in the peninsula of 
which the fort occupies the main part, 
and cut off" from communication with the 
surrounding country. Until within a few 
days our forces consisted of about one 
thousand men belonging to the Third and 
Fourth Regiments of Massachusetts mili- 
tia, and three hundred regulars. The only 
movement since our arrival on the 20th of 
April had been the expedition to Norfolk 
of the Third Regiment, in which it was 
my privilege to serve as a private. The 
fort communicates with the main-land by 
a dike or causeway about half a mile 
long, and a wooden bridge, perhaps three 
hundred feet long, and then there spreads 
out a tract of country, well wooded and 
dotted over with farms. Passing from 
this bridge for a distance of two miles 
northwestward, you reach a creek or arm 
of the bay spanned by another wooden 
bridge, and crossing it you are at once 
in the ancient village of Hampton, hav- 
ing a population of some fifteen hundred 
inhabitants. The peninsula on which the 
fort stands, the causeway, and the first 

bridge described, are the property of the 
United States. Nevertheless, a small pick- 
et-guard of the Secessionists had been ac- 
customed to occupy a part of the bridge, 
sometimes coming even to the centre, and 
a Secession flag waved in sight of the 
fort. On the 13th of May, the Rebel 
picket-guard was driven from the bridge, 
and all the Government property was 
taken possession of by a detachment of 
two companies from the Fourth Regi- 
ment, accompanied by a dozen regulars 
with a field-piece, acting under the or- 
ders of Colonel Dimick, the command- 
er of the post. They retired, denouncing 
vengeance on Massachusetts troops for 
the invasion of Virginia. Our pickets 
then occupied the entire bridge and a 
small strip of the main-land beyond, cov- 
ering a valuable well ; but still there was 
no occupation in force of any but Gov- 
ernment property. The creation of a new 
military department, to the command of 
which a major-general was assigned, was 
soon to terminate this isolation. On the 
13 th of May the First Vermont Regiment 
arrived, on the 24th the Second New 
York, and two weeks later our forces 
numbered nearly ten thousand. 

On the 23d of May General Butler 
ordered the first reconnoitring expedi- 
tion, which consisted of a part of the 
Vermont Regiment, and proceeded un- 
der the command of Colonel Phelps over 
the dike and bridge towards Hampton. 
They were anticipated, and when in sight 
of the second bridge saw that it had been 
set on fire, and, hastening forward, ex- 
tinguished the flames. The detachment 
then marched into the village. A parley 
was held with a Secession officer, who rep- 
resented thfat the men in arms in Hamp- 
ton were only a domestic police. Mean- 
while the white inhabitants, particularly 
the women, had generally disappeared. 
The negroes gathered around our men, 
and their evident exhilaration was partic- 
ularly noted, some of them saying, " Glad 


Tlie Contrahands at Fortress Monroe, 


to see you, Massa," and betraying the fact, 
that, on the approach of the detachment, 
a field-piece stationed at the bridge had 
been thrown into the sea. This was the 
first communication between our army 
and the negroes in this department. 

The reconnoissance of the day had more 
important results than were anticipated. 
Three negroes, owned by Colonel Mal- 
lory, a lawyer of Hampton and a Rebel 
officer, taking advantage of the terror 
prevailing among the white inhabitants, 
escaped from their master, skulked dur- 
ing the afternoon, and in the night came 
to our pickets. The next morning, May 
24th, they were brought to General But- 
ler, and there, for the first time, stood the 
Major-General and the fugitive slave face 
to face. Being carefully interrogated, it 
appeared that they were field-hands, the 
slaves of an officer in the Rebel service, 
who purposed taking them to Carolina to 
be employed in miHtary operations there. 
Two of them had wives in Hampton, one 
a free colored woman, and they had sev- 
eral children in the neighborhood. Here 
was a new question, and a grave one, on 
which the Government had as yet devel- 
oped no policy. In the absence of pre- 
cedents or instructions, an analogy drawn 
from international law was applied. Un- 
der that law, contraband goods, which 
are directly auxiUary to military opera- 
tions, cannot in time of war be imported 
by neutrals into an enemy's country, and 
may be seized as lawful prize when the 
attempt is made so to import them. It 
■will be seen, that, accurately speaking, 
the term applies exclusively to the rela- 
tion between a belligerent and a neutral, 
and not to the relation between belliger- 
ents. Under the strict law of nations, all 
the property of an enemy may be seized. 
Under the Common Law, the property of 
traitors is forfeit. The humaner usage 
of modern times favors the waiving of 
these strict rights, but allows, without 
question, the seizure and confiscation of 
all such goods as are immediately aux- 
iliary to military purposes. These able- 
bodied negroes, held as slaves, were to 
be employed to build breastworks, to 

transport or store provisions, to serve as 
cooks or waiters, and even to bear arms. 
Regarded as property, according to their 
master's claim, they could be efficiently 
used by the Rebels for the purposes of 
the Rebellion, and most efficiently by the 
Government in suppressing it. Regard- 
ed as persons, they had escaped from com- 
munities where a triumphant rebellion 
had trampled on the laws, and only the 
rights of human nature remained, and 
they now asked the protection of the Gov- 
ernment, to which, in prevailing treason, 
they were still loyal, and which they were 
ready to serve as best they could. 

The three negroes, being held contra- 
band of war, were at once set to work to 
aid the masons in constructing a new 
bakehouse within the fort. Thencefor- 
ward the term " contraband '* bore a new 
signification, with which it will pass into 
history, designating the negroes who had 
been held as slaves, now adopted under 
the protection of the Government. It 
was used in official communications at 
the fort. It was applied familiarly to the 
negroes, who stared somewhat, inquiring, 
" What d' ye call us that for V " Not 
having Wheaton's " Elements " at hand, 
we did not attempt an explanation. The 
contraband notion was adopted by Con- 
gress in the Act of July 6 th, which con- 
fiscates slaves used in aiding the Insur- 
rection. There is often great virtue in 
such technical phrases in shaping public 
opinion. They commend practical ac- 
tion to a class of minds little developed 
in the direction of the sentiments, which 
would be repelled by formulas of a broad- 
er and nobler import. The venerable 
gentleman, who wears gold spectacles 
and reads a conservative daily, prefers 
confiscation to emancipation. He is re- 
luctant to have slaves declared freemen, 
but has no objection to their being de- 
clared contrabands. His whole nature ris- 
es in insurrection when Beecher preach- 
es in a sermon that a thing ought to be 
done because it is a duty, but he yields 
gracefully when Butler issues an order 
commanding it to be done because it is 
a military necessity. 


Hie Contrabands at Fortress Monroe. 


On the next day, Major John B. Cary, 
another Rebel officer, late principal of an 
academy in Hampton, a delegate to the 
Charleston Convention, and a seceder 
with General Butler from the Conven- 
tion at Baltimore, came to the fort with a 
flag of truce, and, claiming to act as the 
representative of Colonel Mallory, de- 
manded the fugitives. He reminded Gen- 
eral Butler of his obligations under the 
Federal Constitution, under which he 
claimed to act. The ready reply was, 
that the Fugitive-Slave Act could not be 
invoked for the reclamation of fugitives 
from a foreign State, which Virginia claim- 
ed to be, and she must count it among 
the infelicities of her position, if so far at 
least she was taken at her word. 

The three pioneer negroes were not 
long to be isolated from their race. There 
was no known channel of communication 
between them and their old comrades, 
and yet those comrades knew, or believed 
with the certainty of knowledge, how they 
had been received. If inquired of wheth- 
er more were coming, their reply was, that, 
if they were not sent back, others would 
understand that they were among friends, 
and more would come the next day. Such 
is the mysterious spiritual telegraph which 
runs through the slave population. Pro- 
claim an edict of emancipation in the 
hearing of a single slave on the Potomac, 
and in a few days it will be known by 
his brethren on the Gulf. So, on the night 
of the Big Bethel aifair, a squad of ne- 
groes, meeting our soldiers, inquired anx- 
iously the way to " the freedom fort." 

The means of communicating with the 
fort from the open country became more 
easy, when, on the 24th of May, (the 
same day on which the first movement 
was made from Washington into Vir- 
ginia,) the Second New York Regiment 
made its encampment on the Segar farm, 
lying near the bridge which connect- 
ed the fort with the main-land, an en- 
campment soon enlarged by the First 
Vermont and other New York regiments. 
On Sunday morning. May 26th, eight 
negroes stood before the quarters of Gen- 
eral Butler, waiting for an audience. 

They were examined in part by the Hon. 
Mr. Ashley, M. C. from Ohio, then a 
visitor at the fort. On May 27th, forty- 
seven negroes of both sexes and all ages, 
from three months to eighty-five years, 
among whom were half a dozen entire 
families, came in one squad. Another 
lot of a dozen good field-hands arrived 
the same day ; and then they continued 
to come by twenties, thirties, and forties. 
They were assigned buildings outside of 
the fort or tents within. They were set 
to work as servants to oflicers, or to store 
provisions landed from vessels, — thus re- 
lieving us of the fatigue duty which we 
had previously done, except that of drag- 
ging and mounting columbiads on the 
ramparts of the fort, a service which 
some very warm days have impressed on 
my memory. 

On the 27th of May, the Fourth Massa- 
chusetts Regiment, the First Vermont, and 
some New York regiments made an ad- 
vance movement and occupied Newport 
News, (a promontory named for Captain 
Christopher Newport, the early explorer,) 
so as more effectually to enforce the block- 
ade of James River. There, too, negroes 
came in, who were employed as servants 
to the officers. One of them, when we left 
the fort, more fortunate than his com- 
rades, and aided by a benevolent cap- 
tain, eluded the vigilance of the Provost 
Marshal, and is now the curiosity of a vil- 
lage in the neighborhood of Boston. 

It was now time to call upon the Gov- 
ernment for a policy in dealing with 
slave society thus disrupted and disor- 
ganized. Elsewhere, even under the 
shadow of the Capitol, the action of mil- 
itary officers had been irregular, and in 
some cases in palpable violation of per- 
sonal rights. An order of General Mc- 
Dowell excluded all slaves from the lines. 
Sometimes officers assumed to decide the 
question whether a negro was a slave, 
and deliver him to a claimant, when, 
certainly in the absence of martial law, 
they had no authority in the premises, 
under the Act of Congress, — that pow- 
er being confided to commissioners and 
marshals. As well might a member of 


The Contrabands at Fortress Monroe. 


Congress or a State sheriff usurp the 
function. Worse yet, in defiance of the 
Common Law, they made color a pre- 
sumptive proof of bondage. In one case 
a free negro was delivered to a claim- 
ant under this process, more summary 
than any which the Fugitive-Slave Act 
provides. The colonel of a Massachu- 
setts regiment showed some practical 
humor in dealing with a pertinacious 
claimant who asserted title to a negro 
found within his lines, and had brought 
a policeman along with him to aid in en- 
forcing it. The shrewd colonel, (a Dem- 
ocrat he is,) retaining the policeman, put 
both the claimant and claimed outside of 
the lines together to try their fleetness. 
The negro proved to be the better gym- 
nast and was heard of no more. This 
capricious treatment of the subject was 
fraught with serious difficulties as well as 
personal injuries, and it needed to be dis- 
placed by an authorized system. 

On the 27th of May, General Butler, 
having in a previous communication re- 
ported his interview with Major Cary, call- 
ed the attention of the War Department 
to the subject in a formal despatch, — 
indicating the hostile purposes for which 
the negroes had been or might be success- 
fully used, stating the course he had pur- 
sued in employing them and recording ex- 
penses and services, and suggesting perti- 
nent military, political, and humane con- 
siderations. The Secretary of War, under 
date of the 30th of May, replied, cautious- 
ly approving the course of General But- 
ler, and intimating distinctions between 
interfering with the relations of persons 
held to service and refusing to surrender 
them to their alleged masters, which it 
is not easy to reconcile with well-defined 
views of the new exigency, or at least 
with a desire to express them. The note 
was characterized by diplomatic reserve 
which it will probably be found difficult 
long to maintain. 

The ever-recurring question continued 
to press for solution. On the 6 th of July 
the Act of Congress was approved, declar- 
ing that any person claiming the labor of 
another to be due to him, and permitting 

such party to be employed in any mili- 
tary or naval service whatsoever against 
the Government of the United States, 
shall forfeit his claim to such labor, and 
proof of such employment shall there- 
after be a full answer to the claim. This 
act was designed for the direction of the 
civil magistrate, and not for the limita- 
tion of powers derived from military 
law. That law, founded on solus reir 
publicce, transcends all codes, and lies out- 
side of forms and statutes. John Quin- 
cy Adams, almost prophesying as he ex- 
pounded, declared, in 1842, that under 
it slavery might be abolished. Under 
it, therefore. Major- General Fremont, 
in a recent proclamation, declared the 
slaves of all persons within his depart- 
ment, who were in arms against the Gov- 
ernment, to be freemen, and under it has 
given title-deeds of manumission. Sub- 
sequently President Lincoln limited the 
proclamation to such slaves as are in- 
cluded in the Act of Congress, namely, 
the slaves of Kebels used in directly hos- 
tile service. The country had called for 
Jacksonian courage, and its first exhibi- 
tion was promptly suppressed. If the 
revocation was made in deference to pro- 
tests from Kentucky, it seems, that, while 
the loyal citizens of Missouri appeared 
to approve the decisive measure, they 
were overruled by the more potential 
voice of other communities who profess- 
ed to understand their affairs better than 
they did themselves. But if, as is admit- 
ted, the commanding officer, in the pleni- 
tude of military power, was authorized to 
make the order within his department, 
all human beings included in the procla- 
mation thereby acquired a vested title 
to their freedom, of which neither Con- 
gress nor President could dispossess them. 
No conclusive behests of law necessitat- 
ing the limitation, it cannot rest on any 
safe reasons of military policy. The one 
slave who carries his master's knapsack 
on a march contributes far less to the ef- 
ficiency of the Rebel army than the one 
hundred slaves who hoe corn on his plan- 
tation with which to replenish its commis- 
sariat. We have not yet emerged from 


The Contrabands at Fortress Monroe, 


the fine-drawn distinctions of peaceful 
times. We may imprison or slaughter a 
Kebel, but we may not unloose his hold 
on a person he has claimed as a slave. 
We may seize all his other property with- 
out question, lands, houses, cattle, jewels ; 
but his asserted property in man is more 
sacred than the gold which overlay the 
Ark of the Covenant, and we may not pro- 
fane it. This reverence for things assum- 
ed to be sacred, which are not so, cannot 
long continue. The Government can 
well turn away from the enthusiast, how- 
ever generous his impulses, who asks the 
abolition of slavery on general principles 
of philanthropy, for the reason that it al- 
ready has work enough on its hands. It 
may not change the objects of the war, 
but it must of necessity at times shift its 
tactics and its instruments, as the exigen- 
cy demands. Its solemn and imperative 
duty is to look every issue, however grave 
and transcendent, firmly in the face ; and 
having ascertained upon mature and con- 
scientious reflection what is necessary to 
suppress the Rebellion, it must then pro- 
ceed with inexorable purpose to inflict 
the blows where Rebellion is the weak- 
est and under which it must inevitably 

On the 30th of July, General Butler, 
being still unprovided with adequate in- 
structions, — the number of contrabands 
having now reached nine hundred, — 
applied to the War Department for fur- 
ther directions. His inquiries, inspired 
by good sense and humanity alike, were 
of the most fundamental character, and 
when they shall have received a full an- 
swer the war will be near its end. As- 
suming the slaves to have been the prop- 
erty of masters, he considers them waifs 
abandoned by their owners, in which the 
Government as a finder cannot, howev- 
er, acquire a proprietary interest, and 
they have therefore reverted to the nor- 
mal condition of those made in God's 
image, " if not free-born, yet free-manu- 
mitted, sent forth from the hand that 
held them, never to return." The au- 
thor of that document may never win a 
victor's laurels on any renowned field, 

but, depositing it in the archives of the 
Government, he leaves a record in his- 
tory which will outlast the traditions of 
battle or siege. It is proper to add, that 
the answer of the War Department, so 
far as its meaning is clear, leaves the Gen- 
eral uninstructed as to all slaves not con- 
fiscated by the Act of Congress. 

The documentary history being now 
completed, the personal narrative of af- 
fairs at Fortress Monroe is resumed. 

The encampment of Federal troops 
beyond the peninsula of the fort and in 
the vicinity of the village of Hampton 
was immediately followed by an hegira 
of its white inhabitants, burning, as they 
fled, as much of the bridge as they could. 
On the 28th of May, a detachment of 
troops entered the village and hoisted the 
stars and stripes on the house of Colonel 
Mallory. Picket-guards occupied it in- 
termittently during the month of June. 
It was not until the first day of July that 
a permanent encampment was made 
there, consisting of the Third Massachu- 
setts Regiment, which moved from the 
fort, the Fourth, which moved from New- 
port News, and the Naval Brigade, all 
under the command of Brigadier- Gen- 
eral Pierce, — the camp being informal- 
ly called Camp Greble, in honor of the 
lieutenant of that name who fell brave- 
ly in the disastrous affair of Big Bethel. 
Here we remained until July 16th, when, 
our term of enlistment having expired, 
we bade adieu to Hampton, its ancient 
relics, its deserted houses, its venerable 
church, its trees and gardens, its con- 
trabands, all so soon to be wasted and 
scattered by the torch of Virginia Van- 
dals. We passed over the bridge, the 
rebuilding of which was completed the 
day before, marched to the fort, exchang- 
ed our rifle muskets for an older pattern, 
listened to a farewell address from Gen- 
eral Butler, bade good-bye to Colonel 
Dimick, and embarked for Boston. It 
was during this encampment at Hamp- 
ton, and two previous visits, somewhat 
hurried, while as yet it was without a 
permanent guard, that my personal 
knowledge of the negroes, of their feel- 


The Contrabands at Fortress Monroe. 


ings, desires, aspirations, capacities, and 
habits of life was mainly obtained. 

A few words of local history and de- 
scription may illustrate the narrative. 
Hampton is a town of considerable his- 
toric interest. First among civilized men 
the illustrious adventurer Captain John 
Smith with his comrades visited its site 
in 1607, while exploring the mouth of 
James River to find a home for the first 
colonists. Here they smoked the calu- 
met of peace with an Indian tribe. To 
the neighboring promontory, where they 
found good anchorage and hospitality, 
they gave the name of Point Comfort, 
which it still bears. Hampton, though 
a settlement was commenced there in 
1610, did not become a town until 1705. 
Hostile fleets have twice appeared be- 
fore it. The first time was in October, 
1775, when some tenders sent by Lord 
Dunmore to destroy it were repulsed by 
the citizens, aided by the Culpepper rifle- 
men. Then and there was the first bat- 
tle of the Revolution in Virginia. Again 
in June, 1813, it was attacked by Ad- 
miral Cockburn and General Beckwith, 
and scenes of pillage followed, dishonorar 
ble to the British soldiery. Jackson, in his 
address to his army just before the Battle 
of New Orleans, conjured his soldiers 
to remember Hampton. Until the re- 
cent conflagration, it abounded in an- 
cient relics. Among them was St. John's 
Church, the main body of which was of 
imported brick, and built at the begin- 
ning of the eighteenth century. The fury 
of Secession irreverently destroyed this 
memorial of antiquity and religion, which 
even a foreign soldiery had spared. One 
inscription in the graveyard surrounding 
the church is as early as 1701, and even 
earlier dates are found on tombstones 
in the fields a mile distant. The Court- 
House, a clumsy old structure, in which 
was the law-office of Colonel Mallory, 
contained judicial records of a very early 
colonial period. Some, which I exam- 
ined, bore date of 1634. Several old 
houses, with spacious rooms and high or- 
namented ceilings, gave evidence that at 
one time they had been occupied by citi- 

zens of considerable taste and rank. A 
friend of mine found among the rub- 
bish of a deserted house an EngUsh il- 
lustrated edition of " Paradise Lost," of 
the date of 1725, and Boyle's Oxford edi- 
tion of « The Epistles of Phalaris," fa- 
mous in classical controversy, printed in 
1718. The proximity of Fortress Mon- 
roe, of the fashionable watering-place 
of Old Point, and of the anchorage of 
Hampton Roads, has contributed to the 
interest of the town. To this region 
came in summer-time public men weary 
of their cares, army and navy officers on 
furlough or retired, and the gay daugh- 
ters of Virginia. In front of the fort, 
looking seaward, was the summer resi- 
dence of Floyd; between the fort and 
the town was that of John Tyler. Presi- 
dent Jackson sought refuge from care 
and solicitation at the Rip Raps, whith- 
er he was followed by his devoted friend, 
Mr. Blair. So at least a contraband in- 
formed me, who said he had often seen 
them both there. 

Nevertheless, the town bore no evi- 
dence of thrift. It looked as though it 
were sleepy and indolent in the best of 
times, having oysters for its chief mer- 
chandise. The streets were paved, but 
the pavements were of large irregular 
stones, and unevenly laid. Few houses 
were new, and, excepting St. John's 
Church, the public edifices were mean. 
All these have been swept away by the 
recent conflagration, a waste of proper- 
ty indefensible on any military prin- 
ciples. The buildings might have fur- 
nished winter-quarters for our troops, but 
in that climate they were not necessary 
for that purpose, perhaps not desirable, 
or, if required, could be easily replaced 
by temporary habitations constructed of 
lumber imported from the North by sea. 
But the Rebel chiefs had thrown them- 
selves into heroic attitudes, and while 
playing the part of incendiaries, they 
fancied their action to be as sublime as 
that of the Russians at Moscow. With 
such a precedent of Vandalism, no rav- 
ages of our own troops can hereafter be 
complained of. 


The Contrabands at Fortress Monroe. 


The prevailing exodus, leaving less than 
a dozen white men behind, testifies the po- 
litical feelings of the people. Only two 
votes were thrown against the ordinance 
of Secession. Whatever of Union senti- 
ment existed there had been swept away 
by such demagogues as Mallory, Gary, 
Magruder, Shiels, and Hope. Hastily as 
they left, they removed in most cases all 
their furniture, leaving only the old Vir- 
ginia sideboard, too heavy to be taken 
away. In a few exceptional cases, from 
the absence of the owner or other cause, 
the house was still furnished ; but gener- 
ally nothing but old letters, torn books, 
newspapers, cast-oif clothing, strewed the 
floors. Rarely have I enjoyed the hours 
more than when roaming from cellar to 
garret these tenantless houses. A desert- 
ed dwelling ! How the imagination is 
fascinated by what may have there trans- 
pired of human joy or sorrow, — the soli- 
tary struggles of the soul for better things, 
the dawn and the fruition of love, the 
separations and reunions of families, the 
hearth-stone consecrated by affection and 
prayer, the bridal throng, the birth of 
new lives, the farewells to the world, the 
funeral train. 

But more interesting and instructive 
were the features of slave-life which here 
opened to us. The negroes who remain- 
ed, of whom there may have been three 
hundred of all ages, lived in small wood- 
en shanties, generally in the rear of the 
master's house, rarely having more than 
one room on the lower floor, and that 
containing an open fireplace where the 
cooking for the master's family was done, 
tables, chairs, dishes, and the miscellane- 
ous utensils of household life. The mas- 
ters had taken with them, generally, their 
waiting -maids and house -servants, and 
had desired to carry all their slaves with 
them. But in the hasty preparations, — 
particularly where the slaves were living 
away from their master's close, or had a 
family, — it was difficult to remove them 
against their will, as they could skulk for 
a few hours and then go where they pleas- 
ed. Some voluntarily left their slaves 
behind, not having the means to provide 

for them, or, anticipating a return at no 
distant day, desired them to stay and 
guard the property. The slaves who re- 
mained lived upon the little pork and 
corn-meal that were left and the growing 
vegetables. They had but little to do. 
The women looked after their meagre 
household concerns, but the men were 
generally idle, standing in groups, or sit- 
tino; in front of the shanties talking with 
the women. Some began to serve our 
oflicers as soon as we were quartered in 
the town, while a few others set up cake- 
stands upon the street. 

It was necessary for the protection of 
the post that some breastworks should 
be thrown up, and a line was plan- 
ned extending from the old cemetery 
northward to the new one, a quarter 
of a mile distant. Our own troops were 
disinclined to the labor, their time be- 
ing nearly expired, and they claiming 
that they had done their share of fatigue 
duty both at the fort and at Newport 
News. A member of Brigadier-General 
Pierce's stafl" — an efficient officer and a 
humane gentleman — suggested the em- 
ployment of the contrabands and the fur- 
nishing of them with rations, an expe- 
dient best for them and agreeable to us. 
He at once dictated a telegram to Gen- 
eral Butler in these words : — " Shall we 
put the contrabands to work on the in- 
trenchments, and will you furnish them 
with rations ? " An affirmative answer 
was promptly received on Monday morn- 
ing, July 8th, and that was the first day 
in the course of the war in which the 
negro was employed upon the military 
works of our army. It therefore marks 
a distinct epoch in its progress and in its 
relations to the colored population. The 
writer — and henceforth his narrative 
must indulge in the frequent use of the 
first person — was specially detailed from 
his post as private in Company L of the 
Third Regiment to collect the contra- 
bands, record their names, ages, and the 
names of their masters, provide their tools, 
superintend their labor, and procure their 
rations. My comrades smiled, as I under- 
took the novel duty, enjoying the spec- 


TTie Oontrahands at Fortress Monroe. 


tacle of a Massachusetts Kepublican con- 
verted into a Virginia slave-master. To 
me it seemed rather an opportunity to 
lead them from the house of bondage nev- 
er to return. For, whatever may be the 
general duty to this race, to all such as 
we have in any way employed to aid our 
armies our national faith and our per- 
sonal honor are pledged. The code of 
a gentleman, to say nothing of a higher 
law of rectitude, necessitates protection 
to this extent. Abandoning one of these 
faithful allies, who, if delivered up, would 
be reduced to severer servitude because 
of the education he had received and the 
services he had performed, probably to be 
transported to the remotest slave region 
as now too dangerous to remain near its 
borders, we should be accursed among the 
nations of the earth. I felt assured that 
from that hour, whatsoever the fortunes 
of the war, every one of those enrolled 
defenders of the Union had vindicated 
beyond all future question, for himself, his 
wife, and their issue, a title to American 
citizenship, and become heir to all the 
immunities of Magna Charta, the Decla- 
ration of Independence, and the Consti- 
tution of the United States. 

Passing through the principal streets, 
I told the contrabands that when they 
heard the court-house bell, which would 
ring soon, they must go to the court- 
house yard, where a communication 
would be made to them. In the mean 
time I secured the valuable services of 
some fellow-privates, one for a quarter- 
master, two others to aid in superintend- 
ing at the trenches, and the orderly-ser- 
geant of my own company, whose expert- 
ness in the drill was equalled only by 
his general good sense and business ca- 
pacity. Upon the ringing of the bell, 
about forty contrabands came to the 
yard. A second exploration added to 
the number some twenty or more, who 
had not heard the original summons. 
They then came into the building, where 
they were called to order and addressed. 
I had argued to judges and juries, but I 
had never spoken to such auditors before 
in a court-room. I told them that the 

colored men had been employed on the 
breastworks of the Rebels, and we need- 
ed their aid, — that they would be requir- 
ed to do only such labor as we ourselves 
had done, — that they should be treated 
kindly, and no one should be obliged to 
work beyond his capacity, or if unwell, 
— and that they should be furnished in a 
day or two with full soldiers' rations. I 
told them that their masters had said they 
were an indolent people, — that I did not 
believe the charge, — that I was going 
home to Massachusetts soon and should 
be glad to report that they were as indus- 
trious as the whites. They generally 
showed no displeasure, some even say- 
ing, that, not having done much for some 
time, it was the best thing for them to be 
now employed. Four or five men over 
fifty years old said that they suffered from 
rheumatism, and could not work without 
injury. Being confirmed by the by-stand- 
ers, they were dismissed. Other old men 
said they would do what they could, and 
they were assured that no more would be 
required of them. Two of them, provid- 
ed with a bucket and dipper, were de- 
tailed to carry water all the time along 
the line of laborers. Two young men 
fretted a Httle, and claimed to be dis- 
abled in some way. They were told 
to resume their seats, and try first and 
see what they could do, — to the evident 
amusement of the rest, who knew them to 
be indolent and disposed to shirk. A few 
showed some sulkiness, but it all passed 
away after the first day, when they found 
that they were to be used kindly. One 
well-dressed young man, a carpenter, feel- 
ing a little better than his associates, did 
not wear a pleasant face at first. Finding 
out his trade, we set him to sawing the 
posts for the intrenchments, and he was 
entirely reconciled. Free colored men 
were not required to work ; but one vol- 
unteered, wishing, as he said, to do his 
part. The contrabands complained that 
the free colored men ought to be re- 
quired to work on the intrenchments as 
well as they. I thought so too, but fol- 
lowed my orders. A few expressed some 
concern lest their masters should punish 


The Contrabands at Fortress Monroe, 


them for serving us, if they ever returned. 
One inquired suspiciously why we took 
the name of his master. My reply was, 
that it was taken in order to identify 
them, — an explanation with which he 
was more satisfied than I was myself. 
Several were without shoes, and said 
that they could not drive the shovel into 
the earth. They were told to use the 
picks. The rest of the forenoon being 
occupied in registering their names and 
ages, and the names of their masters, they 
were dismissed to come together on the 
ringing of the bell, at two, p. m. 

It had been expressly understood that 
I was to have the exclusive control and 
supervision of the negroes, directing their 
hours of labor and their rests, without in- 
terference from any one. The work it- 
self was to be planned and superintend- 
ed by the officers of the Third and Fourth 
Regiments. This exclusive control of the 
men was necessarily confided to one, as 
different lieutenants detailed each day 
could not feel a responsibility for their 
welfare. One or two of these, when rests 
were allowed the negroes, were some- 
what disgusted, saying that negroes could 
dig all the time as well as not. I had 
had some years before an experience with 
the use of the shovel under a warm sun, 
and knew better, and I wished I could 
superintend a corps of lieutenants and 
apply their own theory to themselves. 

At two, P. M., the contrabands came 
together, answered to their names, and, 
each taking a shovel, a spade, or a pick, 
began to work upon the breastworks far- 
thest from the village and close to the 
new cemetery. The afternoon was very 
warm, the warmest we had in Hampton. 
Some, used only to household or other 
light work, wilted under the heat, and 
they were told to go into the cemetery and 
lie down. I remember distinctly a corpu- 
lent colored man, down whose cheeks the 
perspiration rolled and who said he felt 
badly. He also was told to go away and 
rest until he was better. He soon came 
back relieved, and there was no more 
faithful laborer among them all during 
the rest of the time. Twice or three 

times in the afternoon an intermission of 
fifteen minutes was allowed to all. Thus 
they worked until six in the evening, 
when they were dismissed for the day. 
They deposited their tools in the court- 
house, where each one of his own accord 
carefully put his pick or shovel where he 
could find it again, — sometimes behind a 
door and sometimes in a sly corner or un- 
der a seat, preferring to keep his own tool. 
They were then informed that they must 
come together on the ringing of the bell 
the next morning at four o'clock. They 
thought that too early, but they were as- 
sured that the system best for their health 
would be adopted, and they would after- 
wards be consulted about changing it. 
The next morning we did not rise quite 
so early as four, and the bell was not 
rung till some minutes later. The con- 
trabands were prompt, their names had 
been called, and they had marched to 
the trenches, a quarter of a mile distant, 
and were fairly at work by half-past four 
or a quarter before five. They did ex- 
cellent service during the morning hours, 
and at seven were dismissed till eight. 
The roll was then called again, absences, 
if any, noted, and by half-past eight they 
were at their post. They continued at 
the trenches till eleven, being allowed 
rests, and were then dismissed until three, 
p. M., being relieved four hours in the 
middle of the day, when, the bell being 
rung and the roll called, they resumed 
their work and continued till six, when 
they were dismissed for the day. Such 
were the hours and usual course of their 
labor. Their number was increased some 
half dozen by fugitives from the back- 
country, who came in and asked to be 
allowed to serve on the intrenchments. 
The contrabands worked well, and in 
no instance was it found necessary for 
the superintendents to urge them. There 
was a public opinion among them against 
idleness, which answered for discipline. 
Some days they worked with our soldiers, 
and it was found that they did more work, 
and did the nicer parts — the facings and 
dressings — better. Colonels Packard 
and Wardrop, under whose direction the 


The Contrabands at Fortress Monroe. 


breastworks were constructed, and Gen- 
eral Butler, who visited them, expressed 
satisfaction at the work which the con- 
trabands had done. On the 14th of July, 
Mr. Russell, of the London " Times," and 
Dr. Bellows, of the Sanitary Commission, 
came to Hampton and manifested much 
interest at the success of the experiment. 
The result was, indeed, pleasing. A sub- 
altern officer, to whom I had insisted that 
the contrabands should be treated with 
kindness, had sneered at the idea of ap- 
plying philanthropic notions in time of 
war. It was found then, as always, that 
decent persons will accomplish more when 
treated at least like human beings. The 
same principle, if we will but credit our 
own experience and Mr. Rarey, too, may 
with advantage be extended to our rela- 
tions with the beasts that serve us. 

Three days after the contrabands com- 
menced their work, five days' rations 
were served to them, — a soldier's ration 
for each laborer, and half a ration for 
each dependant. The allowance was 
liberal, — as a soldier's ration, if properly 
cooked, is more than he generally needs, 
and the dependant for whom a half- ra- 
tion was received might be a wife or a 
half- grown child. It consisted of salt 
beef or pork, hard bread, beans, rice, 
coffee, sugar, soap, and candles, and 
where the family was large it made a 
considerable pile. The recipients went 
home, appearing perfectly satisfied, and 
feeling assured that our promises to them 
would be performed. On Sunday fresh 
meat was served to them in the same 
manner as to the troops. 

There was one striking feature in the 
contrabands which must not be omitted. 
I did not hear a profane or vulgar word 
spoken by them during my superintend- 
ence, a remark which it will be difficult 
to make of any sixty-four white men tak- 
en together anywhere in our army. In- 
deed, the greatest discomfort of a soldier, 
who desires to remain a gentleman in the 
camp, is the perpetual reiteration of lan- 
guage which no decent lips would utter 
in a sister's presence. But the negroes, 
so dogmatically pronounced unfit for 

freedom, were in this respect models for 
those who make high boasts of civility 
of manners and Christian culture. Out 
of the sixty-four who worked for us, all 
but half a dozen were members of the 
Church, generally the Baptist. Although 
without a pastor, they held religious meet- 
ings on the Sundays which we passed in 
Hampton, which were attended by about 
sixty colored persons and three hundred 
soldiers. The devotions were decorously 
conducted, bating some loud shouting by 
one or two excitable brethren, which the 
better sense of the rest could not suppress. 
Their prayers and exhortations were fer- 
vent, and marked by a simpHcity which 
is not infrequently the richest eloquence. 
The soldiers behaved with entire propri- 
ety, and two exhorted them with pious 
unction, as children of one Father, ran- 
somed by the same Redeemer. 

To this general propriety of conduct 
among the contrabands intrusted to me 
there was only one exception, and that 
was in the case of Joe ; his sur- 
name I have forgotten. He was of a va- 
grant disposition, and an inveterate shirk. 
He had a plausible speech and a distorted 
imagination, and might be called a dem- 
agogue among darkies. He bore an ill 
physiognomy, — that of one " fit for trea- 
sons, stratagems, and spoils." He was dis- 
liked by the other contrabands, and had 
been refused admission to their Church, 
which he wished to join in order to get 
up a character. Last, but not least, among 
his sins, he was accustomed to beat his 
wife, of which she accused him in my pres- 
ence ; whereupon he justified himself on 
the brazen assumption that all husbands 
did the same. There was no good reason 
to believe that he had already been tam- 
pered with by Rebels ; but his price could 
not be more than five dollars. He would 
be a disturbing element among the labor- 
ers on the breastworks, and he was a dan- 
gerous person to be so near the lines ; we 
therefore sent him to the fort. The last 
I heard of him, he was at the Rip Raps, 
bemoaning his isolation, and the butt of 
our soldiers there, who charged him with 
being a " Secesh," and confounded him 


The Contrabands at Fortress Monroe, 


by gravely asserting that they were such 
themselves and had seen him with the 
" Secesh " at Yorktown. This was the 
single goat among the sheep. 

On Monday evening, July 15th, when 
the contrabands deposited their tools in 
the court-house, I requested them to stop 
a moment in the yard. I made each a 
present of some tobacco, which all the 
men and most of the women use. As 
they gathered in a circle around me, 
head peering over head, I spoke to them 
briefly, thanking them for their cordial 
work and complimenting their behavior, 
remarking that I had heard no profane or 
vulgar word from them, in which they were 
an example to us, — adding that it was 
the last time I should meet them, as we 
were to march homeward in the morning, 
and that I should bear to my people a 
good report of their industry and morals. 
There was another word that I could not 
leave without speaking. Never before in 
our history had a Northern man, believ- 
ing in the divine right of all men to their 
liberty, had an opportunity to address 
an audience of sixty-four slaves and say 
what the Spirit moved him to utter, — and 
I should have been false to all that is true 
and sacred, if I had let it pass. I said to 
them that there was one more word for 
me to add, and that was, that every one 
of them was as much entitled to his free- 
dom as I was to mine, and I hoped they 
would all now secure it. " Believe you, 
boss," was the general response, and each 
one with his rough gravelly hand grasped 
mine, and with tearful eyes and broken 
utterances said, " God bless you ! " " May 
we meet in Heaven ! " " My name is 
Jack Allen, don't forget me ! " " Remem- 
ber me, Kent Anderson ! " and so on. 
No, — I may forget the playfellows of my 
childhood, my college classmates, my pro- 
fessional associates, my comrades in arms, 
but I will remember you and your bene- 
dictions until I cease to breathe ! Fare- 
well, honest hearts, longing to be free ! 
and may the kind Providence which for- 
gets not the sparrow shelter and protect 
you ! 

During our encampment at Hampton, 

I occupied much of my leisure time in 
conversations with the contrabands, both 
at their work and in their shanties, en- 
deavoring to collect their currents of 
thought and feeling. It remains for me 
to give the results, so far as any could be 
arrived at. 

There were more negroes of unmixed 
African blood than we expected to find. 
But many were entirely bleached. One 
man, working on the breastworks, owned 
by his cousin, whose name he bore, was 
no darker than white laborers exposed 
by their occupation to the sun, and could 
not be distinguished as of negro descent. 
Opposite our quarters was a young slave 
woman who had been three times a moth- 
er without ever having been a wife. You 
could not discern in her three daugh- 
ters, either in color, feature, or texture 
of hair, the slightest trace of African 
lineage. They were as light-faced and 
fair-haired as the Saxon slaves whom the 
Roman Pontiff, Gregory the Great, met 
in the markets of Rome. If they were 
to be brought here and their pedigree 
concealed, they could readily mingle with 
our population and marry white men, 
who would never suspect that they were 
not pure Caucasians. 

From the best knowledge I could ob- 
tain, the negroes in Hampton had rarely 
been severely whipped. A locust-tree 
in front of the jail had been used for a 
whipping-post, and they were very de- 
sirous that it should be cut down. It was 
used, however, only for what are known 
there as flagrant offences, like running 
away. Their masters, when in ill-tem- 
per, had used rough language and in- 
flicted chance blows, but no one ever 
told me that he had suffered from sys- 
tematic cruelty or been severely whip- 
ped, except Joe, whose character I have 
given. Many of them bore testimony to 
the great kindness of their masters and 

Separations of families had been fre- 
quent. Of this I obtained definite knowl- 
edge. When I was registering the num- 
ber of dependants, preparatory to the 
requisition for rations, the answer occa- 


The Contrabands at Fortress Monroe, 


sionally was, " Yes, I have a wife, but 
she is not here." " Where is she ? " 
" She was sold off two years ago, and I 
have not heard of her since." The hus- 
band of the woman who took care of the 
quarters of General Pierce had been sold 
away from her some years before. Such 
separations are regarded as death, and 
the slaves re-marry. In some cases the 
bereft one — so an intelligent negro as- 
sured me — pines under his bereavement 
and loses his value ; but so elastic is hu- 
man nature that this did not appear to 
be generally the case. The same answer 
was given about children, — that they had 
been sold away. This, in a slave-breed- 
ing country, is done when they are about 
eight years old. Can that be a mild 
system of servitude which permits such 
enforced separations ? Providence may, 
indeed, sunder forever those dearest to 
each other, and the stricken soul accepts 
the blow as the righteous discipline of a 
Higher Power; but when the bereave- 
ment is the arbitrary dictate of human 
will, there are no such consolations to 
sanctify grief and assuage agony. 

There is a universal desire among the 
slaves to be free. Upon this point my 
inquiries were particular, and always 
with the same result. When we said to 
them, " You don't want to be free, — your 
masters say you don't," — they manifested 
much indignation, answering, " We do 
want to be free, — we want to be for our- 
selves." We inquired further, " Do the 
house slaves who wear their master's 
clothes want to be free ? " " We never 
heard of one who did not," was the in- 
stant reply. There might be, they said, 
some half-crazy one who did not care to 
be free, but they had never seen one. 
Even old men and women, with crooked 
backs, who could hardly walk or see, 
shared the same feeling. An intelligent 
Secessionist, Lowry by name, who was 
examined at head-quarters, admitted that 
a majority of the slaves wanted to be 
free. The more intelligent the slave 
and the better he had been used, the 
stronger this desire seemed to be. I re- 
member one such particularly, the most 

intelligent one in Hampton, known as " an 
influential darky " (" darky " being the 
familiar term applied by the contrabands 
to themselves). He could read, was an 
exhorter in the Church, and officiated in 
the absence of the minister. He would 
have made a competent juryman. His 
mistress, he said, had been kind to him, 
and had never spoken so harshly to him 
as a captain's orderly in the Naval Brig- 
ade had done, who assumed one day to 
give him orders. She had let him work 
where he pleased, and he was to bring 
her a fixed sum, and appropriate the sur- 
plus to his own use. She pleaded with 
him to go away with her from Hampton 
at the time of the exodus, but she would 
not force him to leave his family. Still 
he hated to be a slave, and he talked 
like a philosopher about his rights. No 
captive in the galleys of Algiers, not La- 
fayette in an Austrian dungeon, ever pin- 
ed more for free air. He had saved eigh- 
teen hundred dollars of his surplus earn- 
ings in attending on visitors at Old Point, 
and had spent it all in litigation to secure 
the freedom of his wife and children, be- 
longing to another master, whose will had 
emancipated them, but was contested on 
the ground of the insanity of the testator. 
He had won a verdict, but his lawyers 
told him they could not obtain a judg- 
ment upon it, as the judge was unfavor- 
able to freedom. 

The most frequent question asked of 
one who has had any means of commu- 
nication with the contrabands during the 
war is in relation to their knowledge of 
its cause and purposes, and their inter- 
est in it. One thing was evident, — in- 
deed, you could not talk with a slave who 
did not without prompting give the same 
testimony, — that their masters had been 
most industrious in their attempts to per- 
suade them that the Yankees were com- 
ing down there only to get the land, — 
that they would kill the negroes and 
manure the ground with them, or carry 
them off to Cuba or Hayti and sell them. 
An intelligent man who had belonged to 
Colonel Joseph Segar — almost the only 
Union man at heart in that region, and 


Tlie Contrabands at Fortress Monroe. 


who for that reason, being in Washing- 
ton at the time the war began, had iwt 
dared to return to Hampton — served the 
staff of General Pierce. He bore the 
highest testimony to the kindness of his 
master, who, he said, told him to remain, 
— that the Yankees were the friends of 
his people, and would use them well. 
"But," said David, — for that was his 
name, — "I never heard of any other 
master who talked that way, but they 
all told the worst stories about the Yan- 
kees, and the mistresses were more fu- 
rious even than the masters." David, I 
may add, spite of his good master, longed 
to be free. 

The masters, in their desperation, had 
within a few months resorted to another 
device to secure the loyalty of their 
slaves. The colored Baptist minister 
had been something of a pet among the 
whites, and had obtained subscriptions 
from some benevolent citizens to secure 
the freedom of a handsome daughter of 
his who was exposed to sale on an auc- 
tion block, where her beauty inspired 
competition. Some leading Secession- 
ists, Lawyer Hope for one, working some- 
what upon his gratitude and somewhat 
upon his vanity, persuaded him to offer 
the services of himself and his sons, in 
a published communication, to the cause 
of Virginia and the Confederate States. 
The artifice did not succeed. He lost 
his hold on his congregation, and could 
not have safely remained after the whites 
left. He felt uneasy about his betrayal, 
and tried to restore himself to favor by 
saying that he meant no harm to his 
people ; but his protestations were in 
vain. His was the deserved fate of those 
in all ages who, victims of folly or bribes, 
turn their backs on their fellows. 

Notwithstanding all these attempts, 
the negroes, with rare exceptions, still 
believed that the Yankees were their 
friends. They had learned something in 
Presidential elections, and they thought 
their masters could not hate us as they 
did, unless we were their friends. They 
believed that the troubles would some- 
how or other help them, although they 

did not understand all that was going 
on. They may be pardoned for their 
want of apprehension, when some of our 
public men, almost venerable, and re- 
puted to be very wise and philosophical, 
are bewildered and grope blindly. They 
were somewhat perplexed by the con- 
tradictory statements of our soldiers, 
some of whom, according to their wish- 
es, said the contest was for them, and 
others that it did not concern them at 
all and they would remain as before. 
If it was explained to them, that Lincoln 
was chosen by a party who were opposed 
to extending slavery, but who were also 
opposed to interfering with it in Vir- 
ginia, — that Virginia and the South had 
rebelled, and we had come to suppress 
the rebellion, — and although the object 
of the war was not to emancipate them, 
yet that might be its result, — they answer- 
ed, that they understood the statement 
perfectly. They did not seem inclined 
to fight, although willing to work. More 
could not be expected of them while 
nothing is promised to them. What la- 
tent inspirations they may have remains 
to be seen. They had at first a mysteri- 
ous dread of fire-arms, but familiarity is 
rapidly removing that. 

The religious element of their life has 
been noticed. They said they had pray- 
ed for this day, and God had sent Lin- 
coln in answer to their prayers. We 
used to overhear their family devotions, 
somewhat loud according to their man- 
ner, in which they prayed earnestly for 
our troops. They built their hopes of 
freedom on Scriptural examples, regard- 
ing the deliverance of Daniel from the 
lions' den, and of the Three Children from 
the furnace, as symbolic of their coming 
freedom. One said to me, that masters, 
before they died, by their wills some- 
times freed their slaves, and he thought 
that a type that they should become free. 

One Saturday evening one of them 
asked me to call and see him at his home 
the next morning. I did so, and he hand- 
ed me a Bible belonging to his mistress, 
who had died a few days before, and 
whose bier I had helped to carry to the 


TJie Contrabands at Fortress Monroe. 


family vault. He wanted me to read to 
him the eleventh chapter of Daniel. It 
seemed, that, as one of the means of keep- 
ing them quiet, the white clergymen dur- 
ing the winter and spring had read them 
some verses from it to show that the South 
would prevail, enforcing passages which 
ascribed great dominion to " the king of 
the South," and suppressing those which 
subsequently give the supremacy to " the 
king of the North." A colored man who 
could read had found the latter passages 
and made them known. The chapter 
is dark with mystery, and my auditor, 
quite perplexed as I read on, remarked, 
" The Bible is a very mysterious book." 
I read to him also the thirty-fourth chap- 
ter of Jeremiah, wherein the sad proph- 
et of Israel records the denunciations by 
Jehovah of sword, pestilence, and famine 
against the Jews for not proclaiming lib- 
erty to their servants and handmaids. He 
had not known before that there were 
such passages in the Bible. 

The conversations of the contrabands 
on their title to be regarded as freemen 
showed reflection. When asked if they 
thought themselves fit for freedom, and if 
the darkies were not lazy, their answer 
was, " Who but the darkies cleared all 
the land round here ? Yes, there are 
lazy darkies, but there are more lazy 
whites." When told that the free blacks 
had not succeeded, they answered that 
the free blacks have not had a fair chance 
under the laws, — that they don't dare to 
enforce their claims agaiTist white men, 
— that a free colored blacksmith had a 
thousand dollars due to him from white 
men, but he was afraid to sue for any 
portion of it. One man, when asked 
why he ought to be free, replied,—" I feed 
and clothe myself and pay my master 
one hundred and twenty dollars a year ; 
and the one hundred and twenty dollars 
is just so much taken from me, which 
ought to be used to make me and my 
children comfortable." Indeed, broken 
as was their speech and limited as was 
their knowledge, they reasoned abstract- 
ly on their rights as well as white men. 
Locke or Channing might have fortified 

the argument for universal liberty from 
their simple talk. So true is it that the 
best thoughts which the human intellect 
has produced have come, not from afflu- 
ent learning or ornate speech, but from 
the original elements of our nature, com- 
mon to all races of men and all condi- 
tions in life ; and genius the highest and 
most cultured may bend with profit to 
catch the lowliest of human utterances. 

There was a very general desire among 
the contrabands to know how to read. 
A few had learned ; and these, in every 
instance where we inquired as to their 
teacher, had been taught on the sly in 
their childhood by their white playmates. 
Others knew their letters, but could not 
"put them together," as they said. I 
remember of a summer's afternoon seeing 
a young married woman, perhaps twenty- 
five years old, seated on a door-step with 
her primer before her, trying to make 

In natural tact and the faculty of 
getting a livelihood the contrabands are 
inferior to the Yankees, but quite equal 
to the mass of the Southern popula- 
tion. It is not easy to see why they 
would be less industrious, if free, than 
the whites, particularly as they would 
have the encouragement of wages. There 
would be transient difficulties at the out- 
set, but no more than a bad system lasting 
for ages might be expected to leave be- 
hind. The fii-st generation might be un- 
fitted for the active duties and responsi- 
bilities of citizenship ; but this difficulty, 
under generous provisions for education, 
would not pass to the next. Even now 
they are not so much behind the masses 
of the whites. Of the Virginians Avho 
took the oath of allegiance at Hampton, 
not more than one in fifteen could write 
his name, and the rolls captured at Hat- 
teras disclose an equally deplorable igno- 
rance. The contrabands might be less 
addicted than the now dominant race to 
bowie-knives and duels, think less of the 
value of bludgeons as forensic arguments, 
be less inhospitable to innocent sojourn- 
ers from Free States, and have far in- 
ferior skill in robbing forts and arsen- 


Tlie Contrabands at Fortress Monroe. 


als, plundering the Treasury, and betray- 
ing the country at whose crib they had 
fattened ; but mankind would forgive 
them for not acquiring these accomplish- 
ments of modern treason. As a race, 
they may be less vigorous and thrifty 
than the Saxon, but they are more so- 
cial, docile, and affectionate, fulfilling the 
theory which Channing held in relation 
to them, if advanced to freedom and civ- 

If in the progress of the war they 
should be called to bear arms, there 
need be no reasonable apprehension that 
they would exhibit the ferocity of sav- 
age races. Unlike such, they have been 
subordinated to civilized life. They are 
by nature a religious people. They have 
received an education in the Christian 
faith from devout teachers of their own 
and of the dominant race. Some have 
been taught (let us believe it) by the 
precepts of Christian masters, and some 
by the children of those masters, repeat- 
ing the lessons of the Sabbath -schooL 
The slaveholders assure us that they 
have all been well treated. If that be 
so, they have no wrongs to avenge. As- 
sociated with our army, they would con- 
form to the stronger and more disciplin- 
ed race. Nor is this view disproved by 
servile insurrections. In those cases, the 
insurgents, without arms, without allies, 
without discipline, but throwing them- 
selves against society, against govern- 
ment, against everything, saw no other 
escape than to devastate and destroy with- 
out mercy in order to get a foothold. If 
they exterminated, it was because exter- 
mination was threatened against them. 

In the Revolution, in the army at Cam- 
bridge, from the beginning to the close of 
the war, against the protests of South Car- 
olina by the voice of Edward Rutledge, 
but with the express sanction of Washing- 
ton, — ever just, ever grateful for patriot- 
ism, whencesoever it came, — the negroes 
fought in the ranks with the white men, 
and they never dishonored the patriot 
cause. So also at the defence of New Or- 
leans they received from General Jackson 
a noble tribute to their fidelity and soldier- 
like bearing. Weighing the question his- 
torically and reflectively, and anticipating 
the capture of Richmond and New Or- 
leans, there need be more serious appre- 
hension of the conduct of some of our 
own troops recruited in large cities than 
of a regiment of contrabands oflicered 
and disciplined by white men. 

But as events travel faster than laws 
or proclamations, already in this war with 
Rebellion the two races have served to- 
gether. The same breastworks have been 
built by their common toil. True and 
valiant, they stood side by side in the 
din of cannonade, and they shared as 
comrades in the victory of Hatteras. His- 
tory will not fail to record that on the 
28th day of August, 1861, when the Reb- 
el forts were bombarded by the Federal 
army and navy, under the command of 
Major- General Butler and Commodore 
Stringham, fourteen negroes, lately Vir- 
ginia slaves, now contraband of war, 
faithfully and without panic worked the 
after-gun of the upper deck of the Min- 
nesota, and hailed with a victor's pride 
the Stars and Stripes as they again wav- 
ed on the soil of the Carolinas. 

1861.] The Washers of the Shroud, 641 


Along a river-side, I know not where, 
I walked last night in mystery of dream ; 
A chill creeps curdling yet beneath my hair, 
To think what chanced me by the pallid gleam 
Of a moon-wraith that waned through haunted air. 

Pale fire-flies pulsed within the meadow mist 
Their halos, wavering thistle-downs of light ; 
The loon, that seemed to mock some goblin tryst, 
Laughed ; and the echoes, huddling in affright, 
Like Odin's hounds, fled baying down the night. 

Then all was silent, till there smote my ear 

A movement in the stream that checked my breath : 

Was it the slow plash of a wading deer ? 

But something said, " This water is of Death ! 

The Sisters wash a Shroud, — ill thing to hear ! '* 

I, looking then, beheld the ancient Three, 

Known to the Greek's and to the Norseman's creed. 

That sit in shadow of the mystic Tree, 

Still crooning, as they weave their endless brede. 

One song : " Time was, Time is, and Time shall be." 

No wrinkled crones were they, as I had deemed, 
But fair as yesterday, to-day, to-morrow, 
To mourner, lover, poet, ever seemed ; 
Something too deep for joy, too high for sorrow. 
Thrilled in their tones and from their faces gleamed. 

" Still men and nations reap as they have strawn," — 

So sang they, working at their task the while, — 

" The fatal raiment must be cleansed ere dawn : 

For Austria ? Italy ? the Sea-Queen's Isle ? 

O'er what quenched grandeur must our shroud be drawn ? 

" Or is it for a younger, fairer corse. 
That gathered States for children round his knees. 
That tamed the wave to be his posting-horse. 
The forest-feller, linker of the seas. 
Bridge-builder, hammerer, youngest son of Thor's ? 

" What make we, murmur'st thou, and what are we ? 
When empires must be wound, we bring the shroud, 
The time-old web of the implacable Three : 
Is it too coarse for him, the young and proud ? 
Earth's mightiest deigned to wear it ; why not he ? '* 


642 The Washers of the Shroud. [November, 

" Is there no hope ? " I moaned. " So strong, so fair ! 

Our Fowler, whose proud bird would brook erewhile 

No rival's swoop in all our western air ! 

Gather the ravens, then, in funeral file, 

For him, life's morn-gold bright yet in his hair ? 

" Leave me not hopeless, ye unpitying dames ! 
I see, half-seeing. Tell me, ye who scanned 
The stars, Earth's elders, still must noblest aims 
Be traced upon oblivious ocean-sands ? 
Must Hesper join the waiUng ghosts of names ? " 

" When grass-blades stiffen with red battle-dew, 
Ye deem we choose the victors and the slain : 
Say, choose we them that shall be leal and true 
To the heart's longing, the high faith of brain ? 
Yet here the victory is, if ye but knew. 

" Three roots bear up Dominion : Knowledge, Will, — 
These two are strong, but stronger yet the third, — 
Obedience, the great tap-root, that still. 
Knit round the rock of Duty, is not stirred, 
Though the storm's ploughshare spend its utmost skill. 

" Is the doom sealed for Hesper ? 'T is not we 
Denounce it, but the Law before all time : 
The brave makes danger opportunity ; 
The waverer, paltering with the chance sublime. 
Dwarfs it to peril : which shall Hesper be ? 

" Hath he let vultures climb his eagle's seat 
To make Jove's bolts purveyors of their maw ? 
Hath he the Many's plaudits found more sweet 
Than wisdom ? held Opinion's wind for law ? 
Then let him hearken for the headsman's feet I 

" Rough are the steps, slow-hewn in flintiest rock, 
States climb to power by ; slippery those with gold 
Down which they stumble to eternal mock : 
No chafferer's hand shall long the sceptre hold. 
Who, given a Fate to shape, would sell the block. 

" We sing old sagas, songs of weal and woe, 
Mystic because too cheaply understood ; 
Dark sayings are not ours ; men hear and know, 
See Evil weak, see only strong the Good, 
Yet hope to balk Doom's fire with walls of tow. 

" Time Was unlocks the riddle of Time Is, 
That offers choice of glory and of gloom ; 
The solver makes Time Shall Be surely his. — 

1861.] Reviews and Literary Notices, 643 

But hasten, Sisters ! for even now the tomb 
Grates its slow hinge and calls from the abyss." 

" But not for him," I cried, " not yet for him, 
Whose large horizon, westering, star by star 
Wins from the void to where on ocean's rim 
The sunset shuts the world with golden bar, — 
Not yet his thews shall fail, his eye grow dim ! 

" His shall be larger manhood, saved for those 
That walk un blenching through the trial-fires ; 
Not suffering, but faint heart is worst of woes, 
And he no base-born son of craven sires. 
Whose eye need droop, confronted with his foes. 

" Tears may be ours, but proud, for those who win 
Death's royal purple in the enemy's lines : 
Peace, too, brings tears ; and 'mid the battle-din, 
The wiser ear some text of God divines ; 
For the sheathed blade may rust with darker sin. 

" God, give us peace ! — not such as lulls to sleep. 

But sword on thigh, and brow with purpose knit ! 

And let our Ship of State to harbor sweep, 

Her ports all up, her battle-lanterns lit. 

And her leashed thunders gathering for their leap ! '* 

So said I, with clenched hands and passionate pain, 
Thinking of dear ones by Potomac's side : 
Again the loon laughed, mocking ; and again 
The echoes bayed far down the night, and died, 
While waking I recalled my wandering brain. 


Sermons preached in the Chapel of Harvard ities of his mental and moral organiza- 

College. By James Walker, D. D. tion, it will be found that the style and 

Boston : Ticknor & Fields. 12mo. structure of these printed sermons suggest 

the mode of their delivery, which is sim- 

The great reputation which Dr. Walker ply the emphatic utterance of emphatic 

has long enjoyed, as one of the most im- thought. The Italicized words, with which 

pressive pulpit orators of the country, will the volume abounds, palpably mark the 

suffer little diminution by the publication results of thinking, and arrest attention 

of these specimens of his rare powers of because they are not less emphasized by 

statement, argument, and illustration. To the intellect than by the type. In reflect- 

the general reader, they are, to be sure, ing Dr. Walker's mind, the work at the 

deprived of the fascination of his voice and same time reflects his manner, 

manner ; but as the peculiarities of his elo- Every reader of these sermons will bo 

cution have their source in the pecuhar- struck by their thorough reasonableness,— 


Reviews and Literary Notices. 


a reasonableness which does not exclude, 
but includes, the deepest and warmest re- 
ligious sensibility. Moral and religious 
feeling pervades every statement ; but the 
feeling is still confined within a flexible 
framework of argument, which, while it 
enlarges with every access of emotion, is 
always an outlying boundary of thought, 
beyond which passion does not pass. Light 
continually asserts itself as more compre- 
hensive in its reach than heat ; and the no- 
blest spiritual instincts and impulses are 
never allowed unchecked expression as 
sentiments, but have to submit to the re- 
straints imposed by principles. Even in 
the remarkable sermon entitled, " The 
Heart more than the Head," it will be 
found that it is the head which legitimates 
the action of the heart. The sentiments 
are exalted above the intellect by a pro- 
cess purely intellectual, and the inferiority 
of the reason is shown to be a principle 
essentially reasonable. Thus, throughout 
the volume, the author's mental insight 
into the complex phenomena of our spir- 
itual nature is always accompanied by a 
mental oversight of its actual and possi- 
ble aberrations. A sound, large, " round- 
about" common sense, keen, eager, vigi- 
lant, sagacious, encompasses all the emo- 
tional elements of his thought. He has a 
subtile sense of mystery, but he is not a 
mystic. The most marvellous workings 
of the Divine Spirit he apprehends under 
the conditions of Law, and even in the 
raptures of devotion he never forgets the 
relation of cause and effect. 

The style of these sermons is what 
might be expected from the character of 
the mind it expresses. If Dr. Walker 
were not a thinker, it is plain that he could 
never have been a rhetorician. He has no 
power at all as a writer, if writing be con- 
sidered an accomplishment which can be 
separated from earnest thinking. Words 
are, with him, the mere instruments for 
the expression of things ; and he hits on 
felicitous words only under that impatient 
stress of thought which demands exact ex- 
pression for definite ideas. All his words, 
simple as they are, are therefore fairly 
earned, and he gives to them a force and 
significance which they do not bear in the 
dictionary. The mind of the writer is felt 
beating and burning beneath his phraseolo- 
gy, stamping every word with the image 
of a thought. Largeness of intellect, acute 

discrimination, clear and explicit state- 
ment, masterly arrangement of matter, 
an unmistakable performance of the real 
business of expression, — these qualities 
make every reader of the sermons con- 
scious that a mind of great vigor, breadth, 
and pungency is brought into direct con- 
tact with his own. The almost ostenta- 
tious absence of " fine writing " only in- 
creases the effect of the plain and sinewy 

If we pass from the form to the sub- 
stance of Dr. Walker's teachings, we shall 
find that his sermons are especially char- 
acterized by practical wisdom. A scholar, 
a moralist, a metaphysician, a theologian, 
learned in all the lore and trained in the 
best methods of the schools, he is distin- 
guished from most scholars by his broad 
grasp of every-day life. It is this quality 
which has given him his wide influence as 
a preacher, and this is a prominent charm 
of his printed sermons. He brings prin- 
ciples to the test of facts, and connects 
thoughts with things. The conscience 
which can easily elude the threats, the 
monitions, and the appeals of ordinary 
sermonizers, finds itself mastered by his 
mingled fervor, logic, and practical knowl- 
edge. Every sermon in the present vol- 
ume is good for use, and furnishes both 
inducements and aids to the formation 
of manly Christian character. There is 
much, of course, to lift the depressed and 
inspire the weak ; but the great peculiar- 
ity of the discourses is the resolute en- 
ergy with which they grapple with the 
worldliness and sin of the proud and the 

The Monks of the West, from St. Benedict to 
St. Bernard. By the Count de Mont- 
ALEMBERT, Member of the French 
Academy. Authorized Translation. 
Volumes I. and II. Edinburgh and 
London : W. Blackwood & Sons. 1861. 
8vo. pp. xii. and 515, 549. 

These volumes form the first instal- 
ment of a work in which one of the great 
lights of the Romish Church in our day 
proposes to recount the glories of West- 
ern Monasticism, and to narrate the lives 
of some of the remarkable men who suc- 
cessively passed from the cloister to the 
Papal throne, or in positions scarcely less 


Reviews and Liter 




conspicuous permanently aflTected the his- 
tory of the Church. His original design, 
however, does not appear to have extend- 
ed beyond writing the life of St. Bernard 
of Clairvaux, which he intended to make 
in some measure a complement to his life 
of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. But he judg- 
ed rightly, that, in order to exhibit the 
character and influence of that remarkable 
man under all their various aspects, it was 
needful at the outset to retrace the ear- 
ly historj'- of monastic institutions in the 
West, and to show how fai> they tended to 
prepare the way for such a man. Only a 
part of this preliminary task has been ac- 
complished as yet ; but enough has been 
done to show in what spirit the historian 
has approached his subject, how thorough- 
ly he has explored the original sources of 
information, and what will probably be the 
real worth of his labors. For such a work 
Montalembert possesses adequate and in 
some respects peculiar qualifications. His 
learning, eloquence, and candor will be 
conceded by every one who is familiar 
with his previous writings or with his pub- 
lic life ; and at the same time he unites a 
passionate love of liberty, everywhere ap- 
parent in his book, with a zeal for the 
Church, worthy of any of the monks whom 
he commemorates. While his narrative 
is always animated and picturesque, and 
often rises into passages of fervid eloquence, 
he has conducted his researches with the 
unwearied perseverance of a mere antiqua- 
ry, and has exhausted every source of in- 
formation. "Every word which I have 
written," he says, " has been drawn from 
original and contemporary sources ; and if 
I have quoted facts or expressions from 
second-hand authors, it has never been 
without attentively verifying the original 
or completing the text. A single date, 
quotation, or note, apparently insignifi- 
cant, has often cost me hours and some- 
times days of labor. I have never con- 
tented myself with being approximatively 
right, nor resigned myself to doubt until 
ev^ry chance of arriving at certainty was 
exhausted." To the spirit and temper in 
which the book is written no well-founded 
exception can be taken ; but considerable 
abatement must be made from the author's 
estimate of the services rendered by the 
monks to Christian civilization, and no 
Protestant will accept his views as to the 
permanent worth of monastic institutions. 

With this qualification, and with some al- 
lowance for needless repetitions, we can- 
not but regard his work as a most attrac- 
tive and eloquent contribution to ecclesi- 
astical history. 

About half of the first volume is devoted 
to a General Introduction, explanatory of 
the origin and design of the work, but 
mainly intended to paint the character of 
monastic institutions, to describe the hap- 
piness of a religious life, and to examine 
the charges brought against the monks. 
These topics are considered in ten chap- 
ters, filled with curious details, and written 
with an eloquence and an earnestness which 
it is difficult for the reader to resist. Fol- 
lowing this we have a short and brilliant 
sketch of the social and political condition 
of the Roman Empire after the conversion 
of Constantino, exhibiting by a few mas- 
terly touches its wide -spread corruption, 
the feebleness of its rulers, and the utter 
degradation of the people. The next two 
books treat of the Monastic Precursors in 
the East as well as in the West, and pre- 
sent a series of brief biographical sketches 
of the most famous monks, from St. An- 
thony, the father of Eastern monasticism, 
to St. Benedict, the earliest legislator for 
the monasteries of the West. Among the 
illustrious men who pass before us in this 
review, and all of whom are skilfully 
delineated, are Basil of Caesarea and his 
friend Gregory Nazianzen, Chrysostom, 
Jerome, Augustine, Athanasius, Martin of 
Tours, and the numerous company of saints 
and doctors nurtured in the great monas- 
tery of Lerins. And though an account 
of the saintly women who have led lives 
of seclusion would scarcely seem to be in- 
cluded under the title of Montalembert's 
work, he does not neglect to add sketches 
of the most conspicuous of them, — Eu- 
phrosyne, Pelagia, Marcella, Furia, and 
others. These preliminary sketches fill 
the last half of the first volume. 

The Fourth Book comprises an account 
of the Life and Rule of St. Benedict, and 
properly opens the history which Monta- 
lembert proposes to narrate. It presents a 
sufficiently minute sketch of the personal* 
history of Benedict and his immediate fol- 
lowers; but its chief merit is in its very- 
ample and satisfactory exposition of the- 
Benedictine Rule. The next book traces- 
the history of monastic institutions in Ita- 
ly and Spain during the sixth and sevenths 


Reviews and Literary Notices. 


centuries, and includes biographical notices 
of Cassiodorus, the founder of the once fa- 
mous monastery of Viviers in Calabria, of 
St. Gregory the Great, of Leander, Bish- 
op of Seville, and his brother Isidore, of II- 
defonso of Toledo, and of many others of 
scarcely less renown in the early monastic 
records. The Sixth Book is devoted to the 
monks under the first Merovingians, and 
is divided into five sections, treating re- 
spectively of the conquest of Gaul by the 
Franks, of the arrival of St. Maur in An- 
jou and the propagation of the Benedictine 
rule there, of the relations previously ex- 
isting between the monks and the Mero- 
vingians, of St. Radegund and her follow- 
ers, and of the services of the monks in 
clearing the forests and opening the way 
for the advance of civilization. The Sev- 
enth Book records the hfe of St. Colum- 
banus, and describes at much length his 
labors in Gaul, as well as those of his dis- 
ciples, both in the great monastery of Lux- 
euil and in the numerous colonies which 
issued from it and spread over the whole 
neighborhood, bringing the narrative down 
to the close of the seventh century. At 
this point the portion of Montalembert's 
work now published terminates, leaving, 
we presume, several additional volumes to 
follow. For their appearance we shall look 
with much interest. If the remainder is 
executed in the same spirit as the portion 
now before us, and is marked by the same 
diligent study of the original authorities 
and the same persuasive eloquence, it will 
form one of the most valuable of the many 
attractive monographs which we owe to 
the French historians of our time, and will 
be read with equal interest by Catholics 
and Protestants. 

Eighty Years' Progress of the United States, 
showing the Various Channels of Industry 
and Education through which the People 
of the United States have arisen from a 
British Colony to their Present National 
ImpoHance. Illustrated with over Two 
Hundred Engravings. New York : 51 
John Street. Worcester: L. Stebbins. 
Two Volumes. 8vo. 

A VAST amount of useful information is 
treasured up in these two national volumes. 
Agriculture, commerce and trade, the cul- 
tivation of cotton, education, the arts of de- 

sign, banking, mining, steam, the fur-trade, 
etc., are subjects of interest everywhere, 
and the present writers seem to be special- 
ly competent for the task they have as- 
siuned. If the household library should 
possess such books more frequently, less 
ignorance would prevail on topics concern- 
ing which every American ought to be well- 
informed. Woful silence usually prevails 
when a foreigner asks for statistics on any 
point connected with our industrial prog- 
ress, and very few take the trouble to get 
at facts which are easy enough to be had 
with a little painstaking. We are glad to 
see so much good material brouglit togeth- 
er as we find in these two well-filled vol- 

Electro-Physiology and Electro-Therapeutics : 
Showing the Rules and Methods for the Em- 
ployment of Galvanism in Nervous Diseas- 
es, etc. Second Edition, with Additions. 
Boston : Ticknor & Fields. 1861. 

At a time when the partition-wall be- 
tween Jew and Gentile of the medical 
world is pretty thoroughly breached, if 
not thrown down, and quackery and im- 
posture are tolerated as necessary evils, it 
is agreeable to meet with a real work of 
science, emanating from the labors of a 
regular physician, concerning the influ- 
ences exerted by electricity on the human 
body, both in health and disease. 

Electricity is one of the great powers of 
Nature, pervading all matter, existing in 
all mineral, vegetable, and animal bodies, 
not only acting in the combinations of the 
elements and molecules, but also serving 
as a means for their separation from each 
other. This imponderable fluid or power, 
whatever it may be, whether one or two, 
or a polarization of one force into the states 
-f and — , is one of the most active agen- 
cies known to man, and although not ca- 
pable of being weighed in the balance, is 
not found wanting anywhere in Nature. It 
courses in great currents beneath our feet, 
in the solid rocks of the earth, penetrat- 
ing to the very interior of the globe, while 
it also rushes through our atmosphere in 
lurid flashes, and startles us with the crash 
and roar of heaven's artillery. It gives 
magnetic polarity to the earth, and directs 
the needle by its influence ; for magnetic 
attraction is only an effect of the earth's 


Heviews and Literary Notices. 


thermo-electricity, excited by the sun's 
rays acting in a continuous course. Both 
animal and vegetable life are dependent 
on electric forces for their development ; 
and many of their functions, directly or 
indirectly, result from their agency. 

If this force controls to a great de- 
gree the living functions of our organs in 
their healthy action, it must be that it is 
concerned in those derangements and le- 
sions which constitute disease and abnor- 
mal actions or disorders. It must have 
a remedial and the opposite effect, accord- 
ing as it is appHed. 

Is such a gigantic power to be left in 
the hands of charlatans, or shall it be re- 
served for application by scientific physi- 
cians ? This is a question we must meet 
and answer practically. 

It may be asked why a force of this na- 
ture has been so long neglected by prac- 
tising physicians. The answer is very 
simple, and will be recognized as true by 
all middle-aged physicians in this country. 

Eor the past fifty years it has been cus- 
tomary to state in lectures in our medical 
colleges, that "chemistry has nothing to 
do with medicine " ; and since our teachers 
knew nothing of the subject themselves, 
they denounced such knowledge as un- 
necessary to the physician. Electricity, 
the great moving power in all chemical 
actions, shared the fate of chemistry in 
general, and met with condemnation with- 
out trial. A young physician did not dare 
to meddle with chemicals or with any 
branch of natural or experimental science, 
for fear of losing his chance of medical 
employment by sinking the doctor among 
bis gallipots. 

Electricity, thus neglected, fell into the 
hands of irregular practitioners, and was 
as often used injuriously as beneficially, 
and more frequently without any effect. 
The absurd pretensions of galvanic baths 
for the extraction of mercury from the 
system will be remembered by most of 
our citizens, and the shocking practice of 
others is not forgotten. 

It was therefore earnestly desired by 
medical practitioners who themselves were 
not by education competent to manage 
electric and galvanic machinery, that some 
medical man of good standing, who had 
made a special study of this subject, should 
undertake the treatment of diseases re- 
quiring the use of electricity. Dr. Gar- 

ratt was induced to undertake this im- 
portant duty, and he has prepared a work 
on this practice which embraces all that 
has appeared in the writings of others, 
both in this country and Europe, while he 
has, from his own researches and rich ex- 
perience, added much new matter of great 
practical value. Among his original con- 
tributions we note, — 

1st. A definite, systematic method for 
the application of Galvanic and Faradaic 
currents of electricity to the human organ- 
ism, for curing or aiding in the cure of giv- 
en classes of diseases. (See pages 475, 479, 
and 669 to 706 ; also Chap. 5, p. 280.) 

2d. Improvements in the methods of ap- 
plying electricity, as stated on pages 293 
to 296, and 300, 329, and 332, which we 
have not room to copy. 

3d. He has introduced the term Fara- 
daic current to represent the induced cur- 
rent, first discovered by Professor Henry, 
and so much extended in application by 

4th. The determination of several defi- 
nite points in sentient and mixed nerves, 
often the seats of neuralgic pain, — thus cor- 
recting Dr. Valleix's painful points. 

6th. The treatment of uterine, and some 
other female disorders, by means of the 
induced galvanic current (pages 612 to 

A careful examination of this book shows 
it to contain a very full r€sume of the best 
which have been written on the subjects 
embraced under the medical applications 
of electricity in its various modes of devel- 
opment, and a careful analysis of the doc- 
trines of others ; while the author has given 
frankly an account of cases in which he 
has failed, as of those in which he has been 
successful. He does not offer electric treat- 
ment as a panacea for " all the ills which 
flesh is heir to," but shows how far and 
in what cases it proves beneficial. He has 
shown that there is a right and a wrong 
way of operating, and that mischief may 
be done by an unskilful hand, while one 
who is well qualified by scientific knowl- 
edge and practical experience may do 
much good, and in many diseases, — more 
especially in those of the nerves, such as 
neuralgia and partial paralysis, in which 
remarkable cures have been effected. We 
commend this work to the attention of med- 
ical gentlemen, and especially to students 
of medicine who wish to be posted up in 


Hecent American Publications. 


the novel methods of treating diseases. It 
is also a book which all scientific men may 
consult with advantage, and which will 
gratify the curiosity of the general scholar. 

Memoir of Edward Forbes, F. R. S., Late 
Regius Professor of Natural History in the 
University of Edinburgh. By George 

I Wilson, M. D., F. R. S. E., and Archi- 
bald Geikie, F. R. S. E., etc. Cam- 
bridge and London : MacMillan & Co. 

Dr. Wilson did not live to finish the 
memoir which he so ably began. The 
great naturalist, Edward Forbes, deserved 
the best from his contemporaries, and we 
axe glad to have the combined labors of 
such distinguished men as Wilson and 

Geikie put forth in commemoration of 
him. The chair of Natural History at 
Edinburgh was honored by him whose bi- 
ography is now before us. His advent to 
that eminent post was everywhere hailed 
with a unanimity that augured well for his 
career, and no one could have been chosen 
to succeed the illustrious Jameson for whom 
there could have been more enthusiasm. 
His admitted genius and the range of his 
acquirements fully entitled him to the of- 
fice, and all who knew him looked forward 
to brilliant accomplishments in his varied 
paths of science. Death closed the brief 
years of this earnest student at the early 
age of thirty -nine. Cut off in the prime 
of his days, with his powers and purposes 
but partially unfolded, he yet shows grand- 
ly among the best men of his time. 



The Laws of Massachusetts relating to Indi- 
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the General Statutes. Boston. Benj. B. Rus- 
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Chambers's Encyclopasdia. A Dictionary of 
Universal Knowledge for the People. Part 
XXXIV. Philadelphia. J. B. Lippincott & 
Co. 8vo. paper, pp. 47. 15 cts. 

A Course of Six Lectures on the Chemical 
History of a Candle ; to which is added a Lec- 
ture on Platinum. By Michael Faraday. New 
York. Harper & Brothers. 24mo. pp. 217. 
50 cts. 

Great Expectations. By Charles Dickens. 
Philadelphia. T. B. Peterson & Brothers. 8vo. 
pp. 266. $1.50. 

Latin Accidence and Primarj' Lesson-Book, 
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Words, and First Lessons in Reading. By 
George W. Collord, A. M. New York. Harper 
& Brothers. 12mo. pp. 348. $1.00. 

Life and Adventures in the South Pacific. 
By a Roving Printer. New York. Harper & 
Brothers. 12mo. pp. 354. $1.25. 

The Southern Rebellion, and the War for 
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ress of the Rebellion, and Consecutive Narra- 
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James D. Torrey. 8vo. paper, pp. 32. 10 cts. 

Positive Facts without a Shadow of Doubt. 
By Michael George Duignan. New York. 
Printed for the Publisher. 8vo. pp. 1103. 

The House on the Moor. By the Author 
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Harper & Brothers. 12mo. pp. 405. $1.00, 

Learning to Read, to Write, and to Com- 
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Co. 12mo. pp. 485. $1.50. 

Eighty Years' Progress of the United States, 
showing the Various Channels of Industry 
and Education through which the People of 
the United States have arisen from a British 
Colony to their Present National Importance. 
Illustrated with over Two Hundred Engrav- 
ings. New York and Worcester. L. Steb- 
bins. 2 vols. Svo. pp. 457, 455. $5.00. 




VOL. VIII.— DECEMBER, 1861.— NO. L. 


After General Lafayette's visit to 
the United States, in 1824, every Amer- 
ican -who went to France went with a 
firm conviction that he had a right to 
take as much as he chose of the old gen- 
tleman's time and hospitality, at his own 
estimate of their value. Fortunately, the 
number of travellers was not great in 
those days, although a week seldom pass- 
ed without bringing two or three new 
faces to the Rue d'Anjou or La Grange. 
It was well both for the purse and the 
patience of the kind-hearted old man 
that ocean steamers were still a doubtful 
problem, and first-class packets rarely 
over five hundred tons. 

It could hardly be expected that a boy 
of sixteen should have more discretion 
than his elders ; and following the uni- 
versal example of my countrymen, the 
first use that I made of a Parisian cabrio- 
let was to drive to No. 6, Rue d'Anjou. 
The porte cochere was open, and the por- 
ter in his lodge, — a brisk little French- 
man, somewhat past middle age, with just 
bows enough to prove his nationality, and 
very expressive gestures, which I under- 
stood much better than I did his words ; 
for they said, or seemed to say, — " The 

General is out, and I will take charge of 
your letter and card." There was noth- 
ing else for me to do, and so, handing 
over my credentials, I gave the rest of 
the morning to sight-seeing, and, being a 
novice at it and alone, soon got tired and 
returned to my hotel. 

I don't know how that hotel would look 
to me now ; but to my untrained eyes 
of that day it looked wonderfully fine. I 
liked the name, — the Petit Hotel Mont- 
morenci, — for I knew enough of French 
history to know that Montmorenci had al- 
ways been a great name in France. Then 
it was the favorite resort of Americans ; 
and although I was learning the phras- 
es in Blagdon as fast as I could, I still 
found English by far the most agreeable 
means of communication for everything 
beyond an appeal to the waiter for more 
wood or a clean toweL Table d'Hote, 
too, brought us all together, with an abun- 
dant, if not a rich, harvest of personal ex- 
periences gathered during the day from 
every quarter of the teeming city. Brad- 
ford was there with his handsome face 
and fine figure, — an old resident, as it 
then seemed to me; for he had been 
abroad two years, and could speak what 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861, by Ticknor and Fields, in the Clerk's Office 
of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 
VOL. VIII. 42 


TJie Home of Lafayette. 


sounded to my ears as French-like as any 
French I had ever heard. Poor fellow ! 
scarce three years had passed when he 
laid him down to his last sleep in a con- 
vent of Jerusalem, without a friend to 
smooth his pillow or listen to his last wish- 
es. Of most of the others the names 
have escaped me ; but I shall never for- 
get how wide I opened my eyes, one even- 
ing, at the assertion of a new-comer, that 
he had done more for the enlightenment 
of France than any man living or dead. 
The incomparable gravity with which the 
assertion was made drew every eye to 
the speaker, who, after enjoying our as- 
tonishment for a while, told us that he 
had been the first to send out a whaler 
from Havre, and had secured almost a 
monopoly of the oil-trade. Some years 
afterwards I made a passage with his 
brother, and learned from him the histo- 
ry of this Yankee enterprise, which had 
filled two capacious purses, and substitut- 
ed the harpoon for the pruning-knife, the 
whale-ship for the olive-orchard, in the 
very stronghold of the emblem of peace ; 
and now the collier with his pickaxe has 
driven them both from the field. But 
the Petit Hotel Montmorenci did not 
wait for the change. Its broad court was 
never enlivened by gas. Its tables and 
mantels were decked to the last hour 
with the alabaster whiteness of those pure 
wax tapers which shed such a soft light 
upon your book, and grew up into such 
formidable items in your bills. A long 
passage — one of those luxuries of rainy, 
muddy Paris, lined with stores that you 
cannot help lingering over, if for noth- 
ing else, to wonder at the fertility of the 
human brain when it makes itself the 
willing minister of human caprice — cov- 
ers the whole space which the hotel stood 
on, and unites the Neuve St. Marc with 
the once distant Boulevard. 

As I passed the porter's lodge, he hand- 
ed me a letter. The hand was one that 
I had never seen before ; the address was 
in French ; and the seal, red wax thinly 
spread, but something which had been 
put on it before it was cool had entirely 
effaced the impress : as I afterwards learn- 

ed, it was the profile of Washington. I 
opened it, and judge my surprise and de- 
light on reading the following words: — 

^^ Parts, Thursday. 
" I am very sorry not to have had the 
pleasure to see you when you have called 
this morning, my dear Sir. My stay in 
town will be short. But you will find 
me to-morrow from nine in the morning 
until twelve. I hope we shall see you 
soon at La Grange, which I beg of you 
to consider as your home, being that of 
your grandfather's most intimate friend 
and brother-in-arms. 

" Lafayette." 

It was nearly eleven when I reached 
the Rue d'Anjou and began for the first 
time to mount the broad stairway of a 
Parisian palace. The General's apart- 
ments were on the entresol, with a sepa- 
rate staircase from the first landing of 
the principal one ; for his lameness made 
it difficult for him to go up-stairs, and 
the entresol, a half- story between the 
ground floor and the first story, when, 
as was the case here, high enough in the 
ceiling, is one of the freest and pleasant- 
est parts of a French house. His apart- 
ments comprised five rooms on a line, — 
an antechamber, a dining-room, two par- 
lors, and a bed-room, with windows on the 
street, — and the same number of smaller 
rooms on a parallel line, with their win- 
dows on the court -yard, which served 
for his secretary and servants. The fur- 
niture throughout was neat and plain : 
the usual comfortable arm-chairs and so- 
fas, the indispensable clock and mirror 
over the mantelpiece, and in each fire- 
place a cheerful wood-fire. There were 
two or three servants in the antecham- 
ber, well-dressed, but not in livery ; and 
in the parlor, into which I was shown on 
handing my card, two or three persons 
waiting for an audience. Fortunately 
for me, they were there on business, and 
the business was soon despatched ; and 
passing, in turn, into the reception parlor, 
I found myself in the presence of the 
friend of Washington and my grandfa- 


The Home of Lafayette. 


ther. He received me so cordially, with 
such kind inquiries into the object and 
cause of my journey, such a fatherly in- 
terest in my plans and aims, such an ear- 
nest repetition of the invitation he had 
given me in his note to look upon La 
Grange as my home, that I felt at once 
that I was no longer without a guide and 
protector in a foreign land. It was some 
time before I could observe him closely 
enough to get a just idea of his appear- 
ance ; for I had never before been con- 
sciously in the presence of a man who 
had filled so many pages of real history, 
and of the history which above all others 
I was most interested in. I felt as if a 
veil had been suddenly lifted, and the 
great men I had read of and dreamed 
of were passing before me. There were 
the features which, though changed, had 
so often called up a smile of welcome to 
the lips of Washington ; there was the 
man who had shared with my grandfa- 
ther the perils of the Brandywine and 
Monmouth, the long winter encampment, 
and the wearisome summer march; the 
man whom Napoleon had tried all the 
fascinations of his art upon, and failed to 
lure him from his devotion to the cause of 
freedom ; whom Marat and Robespierre 
had marked out for destruction, aud 
kings and emperors leagued against in 
hatred and fear. It was more like a 
dream than a reality, and for the first 
twenty minutes I was almost afraid to 
stir for fear I might wake up and find 
the vision gone. But when I began to 
look at him as a being of real flesh and 
blood, I found that Ary Scheffer's por- 
trait had not deceived me. Features, 
expression, carriage, all were just as it 
had taught me to expect them, and it 
seemed to me as if I had always known 
him. The moment I felt this I began to 
feel at my ease ; and though I never en- 
tirely lost the feeling that I had a living 
chapter of history before me, I soon learn- 
ed to look upon him as a father. 

As I was rising to go, a lady entered 
the room, and, without waiting for an in- 
troduction, held out her hand so cordially 
that I knew it must be one of his daugh- 

ters. It was Madame de Lasteyrie, who, 
like her mother and sister, had shared 
his dungeon at Olmiitz. Her English, 
though perfectly intelligible, was not as 
fluent as her father's, but she had no diffi- 
culty in saying some pleasant things about 
family friendship which made me very 
happy. She lived in the same street, 
though not in the same house with the 
General, and that morning my good-for- 
tune had brought the whole family to- 
gether at No. 6. 

The occasion was a singular one. One 
of those heartless speculators to whom 
our Government has too often given free 
scope among the Indian tribes of our bor- 
ders had brought to France a party of 
Osages, on an embassy, as he gave them 
to understand, but in reality with the 
intention of exhibiting them, very much 
as Van Amburgh exhibits his wild beasts. 
General Lafayette was determined, if 
possible, to counteract this abominable 
scheme ; but as, unfortunately, there was 
no one who could interpret for him but 
the speculator himself, he found it diffi- 
cult to make the poor Indians understand 
their real position. He had already seen 
and talked with them, and was feeling 
very badly at not being able to do more. 
This morning he was to receive them at 
his house, and his own family, with one 
or two personal friends, had been invited 
to witness the interview. 

Madame de Lasteyrie was soon follow- 
ed by her daughters, and in a few mo- 
ments I found myself shaking some very 
pretty hands, and smiled upon by some 
very pretty faces. It was something of a 
trial for one who had never been in a 
full drawing-room in his life, and whom 
Nature had predestined to mauvaise Jionte 
to the end of his days. Still I made the 
best of it, and as there is nothing so dread- 
ful, after all, in a bright eye and rosy lip, 
and the General's invitation to look upon 
his house as my home was so evidently 
to be taken in its literal interpretation, I 
soon began to feel at my ease. 

The rooms gradually filled. Madame 
de Maubourg came in soon after her sis- 
ter, and, as I was talking to one of the 


The Home of Lafayette. 


young ladies, a gentleman with a coun- 
tenance not altogether unlike the Gener- 
al's, though nearly bald, and -with what 
was left of his hair perfectly gray, came up 
and introduced himself to me as George 
Lafayette. It was the last link in the 
chain. The last letter that my grand- 
father ever wrote to General Lafayette 
had been about a project which they had 
formed at the close of the war, to bring 
up their sons — " the two George Wash- 
ingtons" — together; and as soon after 
General Greene's death as the necessa- 
ry arrangement could be made, my poor 
uncle was sent to France and placed un- 
der the General's care. It was of him 
that General Washington had written to 
CoIoimI Wadsworth, " But should it turn 
out differently, and Mrs. Greene, yourself, 
and Mr. Rutledge" (General Greene's 
executors) " should think proper to in- 
trust my namesake, G. W. Greene, to 
my care, I will give him as good an edu- 
cation as this country (I mean North 
America) will afford, and will bring 
him up to either of the genteel profes- 
sions that his friends may choose or his 
own inclination shall lead him to pursue, 
at my own cost and charge." " He is 
a lively boy," wrote General Knox to 
Washington, on returning from putting 
him on board the French packet, " and, 
with a good education, will probably be 
an honor to the name of his father and 
the pride of his friends." 

I may be pardoned for dwelling a mo- 
ment on the scanty memorials of one 
whose name is often mentioned in the 
letters of Washington, and whose early 
promise awakened the fondest expecta- 
tions. He was a beautiful boy, if the ex- 
quisite little miniature before me may be 
trusted, blending sweetly the more char- 
acteristic traits of his father and mother 
in his face, in a way that must have made 
him very dear to both. With the officers 
and soldiers he was a great favorite, and 
it cost his father a hard effort to deny 
himself the gratification of having him al- 
ways with him at camp during the winter. 
But the sense of paternal duty prevailed, 
and as soon as he was thought old enough 

to profit by it, he was put under the 
charge of Dr. Witherspoon at Princeton. 
" I cannot omit informing you," writes 
General Washington, in 1783, " that I let 
no opportunity slip to inquire after your 
son George at Princeton, and that it is 
with pleasure I hear he enjoys good 
health, and is a fine, promising boy." 
He remained in France till 1792, when 
his mother's anxiety for his safety over- 
came her desire for the completion of his 
studies, and she wrote to Gouverneur 
Morris, who was then in France, to send 
him home. "Mr. Jefferson," reads the 
autograph before me, " presents his most 
respectful compliments to Mrs. Greene, 
and will with great pleasure write to Mr. 
Morris on the subject of her son's return, 
forwarding her letter at the same time. 
He thinks Mrs. Greene concluded that he 
should return by the way of London. If 
he is mistaken, she will be so good as to 
correct him, as his letter to Mr. Morris 
will otherwise be on that supposition." 
He returned a large, vigorous, athletic 
man, full of the scenes he had witnessed, 
and ready to engage in active life with the 
ardor of his age and the high hopes which 
his name authorized ; for it was in the days 
of Washington and Hamilton and Knox, 
men who extended to the son the love 
they had borne to the father. But his 
first winter was to be given to his home, 
to his mother and sisters ; and there, while 
pursuing too eagerly his favorite sport of 
duck-shooting from a canoe on the Sa- 
vannah, his boat was overset, and, though 
his companion escaped by clinging to the 
canoe, he was borne down by the weight 
of his accoutrements and drowned. The 
next day the body was recovered, and 
the vault which but six years before had 
prematurely opened its doors to receive 
the remains of the father was opened 
again for the son. Not long after, his 
family removed to Cumberland Island 
and ceased to look upon Savannah as 
their burial-place ; and when, for the first 
time, after the lapse of more than thirty 
years, and at the approach of Lafayette 
on his last memorable visit to the United 
States, a people awoke from their leth- 


The Home of Lafayette. 


argy and asked where the bones of the 
hero of the South had been laid, there 
•was no one to point out their resting- 
place. Happy, if what the poet tells us 
be true, and " still in our ashes live their 
wonted fires," that they have long since 
mingled irrevocably with the soil of the 
land that he saved, and can never be- 
come associated with a movement that 
has been disgraced by the vile flag of Se- 
cession ! 

But to return to the Rue d'Anjou. A 
loud noise in the street announced the 
approach of the Indians, whose appear- 
ance in an open carriage had drawn to- 
gether a dense crowd of sight-loving Pa- 
risians ; and in a few moments they en- 
tered, decked out in characteristic finery, 
but without any of that natural grace and 
dignity which I had been taught to look 
for in the natives of the forest. The Gen- 
eral received them with the dignified af- 
fability which was the distinctive charac- 
teristic of his manner under all circum- 
stances ; and although there was nothing 
in the occasion to justify it, I could not 
help recalling Madame de Stael's com- 
ment upon his appearance at Versailles, 
on the fearful fifth of October : — " M. de 
la Fayette was perfectly calm ; nobody 
ever saw him otherwise." Withdrawing 
with them into an inner room, he did his 
best, as he afterwards told me, to prevail 
upon them to return home, though not 
without serious doubts of the honesty of 
their interpreter. It was while this pri- 
vate conference was going on that I got 
my first sight of Cooper, — completing 
my morning's experience by exchanging 
a few words with the man, of all others 
among my countrymen, whom I had most 
wished to know. Meanwhile the table 
in the dining-room was spread with cakes 
and preserves, and before the company 
withdrew, they had a good opportunity of 
convincing themselves, that, if the Amer- 
ican Indian had made but little progress 
in the other arts of civilization, he had 
attained to a full appreciation of the vir- 
tues of sweetmeats and pastry. 

I cannot close this portion of my sto- 
ry without relating my second interview 

with my aboriginal countrymen, not quite 
so satisfactory as the first, but at least with 
its amusing, or rather its laughable side. 
I was living in Siena, a quiet old Tus- 
can town, with barely fifteen thousand in- 
habitants to occupy a circuit of wall that 
had once held fifty, — but with all the re- 
mains of its former greatness about it, 
noble palaces, a cathedral second in beau- 
ty to that of Milan alone, churches filled 
with fine pictures, an excellent public 
library, (God's blessing be upon it, for it 
was in one of its dreamy alcoves that I 
first read Dante,) a good opera in the 
summer, and good society all the year 
round. Month was gliding after month 
in happy succession. I had dropped read- 
ily into the tranquil round of the daily 
life, had formed many acquaintances and 
two or three intimate ones, and, though 
reminded from time to time of the Gen- 
eral by a paternal letter, had altogether 
forgotten the specimens of the children 
of the forest whom I had seen under his 
roof. One evening — I do not remember 
the month, though I think it was late in 
the autumn — I had made up my mind 
to stay at home and study, and was just 
sitting down to my books, when a friend 
came in with the air of a man who had 
something very interesting to say. 

" Quick, quick ! shut your book, and 
come with me to the theatre." 

" Impossible ! I 'm tired, and, more- 
over, have something to do which I must 
do to-night." 

" To-morrow night will do just as well 
for that, but not for the theatre." 

" Why ? " 

" Because there are some of your coun- 
trymen here who are going to be exhibit- 
ed on the stage, and the Countess P 

and all your friends want you to come 
and interpret for them." 

" Infinitely obliged. And pray, what 
do you mean by saying that some of 
my countrymen are to be exhibited on 
the stage ? Do you take Americans for 
mountebanks ? " 

" No, I don't mean that ; but it is just 
as I tell you. Some Americans will ap- 
pear on the stage to-night and make a 


The Home of Lafayette 


speech in American, and you must come 
and explain it to us." 

I must confess, that, at first, my digni- 
ty was a Httle hurt at the idea of an ex- 
hibition of Americans ; but a moment's 
reflection convinced me that I had no 
grounds for offence, and all of a sudden 
it occurred to me that the " Americans " 
might be my friends of the Rue d'Anjou, 
whose " guide and interpreter," though 
hardly their " friend," had got them down 
as far as Siena on the general embassy. 
I was resolved to see, and accordingly 
exchanging my dressing-gown and slip- 
pers for a dress-box costume, I accom- 
panied my friend to the theatre. My ap- 
pearance at the pit-door was the signal for 
nods and beckonings from a dozen boxes ; 
but as no one could dispute the superior 

claims of the Countess P , I soon 

found myself seated in the front of her 
Ladyship's box, and the chief object of 
attention till the curtain rose. 

"And now, my dear G , tell us 

all about these strange countrymen of 
yours, — how they live, — whether it is 
true that they eat one another, — what 
kind of houses they have, — how they 
treat their women, — and everything else 
that we ought to know." 

Two or three years later, when Cooper 
began to be translated, they would have 
known better ; but now nothing could 
convince them that I was not perfectly 
qualified to answer all their questions 
and stand interpreter between my coun- 
trymen and the audience. Fortunately, 
I had read Irving's beautiful paper in the 
" Sketch-Book," and knew " The Last of 
the Mohicans " by heart ; and putting to- 
gether, as well as I could, the ideas of In- 
dian life I had gained from these sources, 
I accomplished my task to the entire satis- 
faction of my interrogators. At last the 
curtain rose, and, though reduced in num- 
ber, and evidently much the worse for 
their protracted stay in the land of civil- 
ization and brandy, there they were, the 
very Osages I had seen at the good old 
General's. The interpreter came for- 
ward and told his story, making them 
chiefs of rank on a tour of pleasure. And 

a burly-looking fellow, walking up and 
down the stage with an air that gave the 
lie to every assertion of the interpreter, 
made a speech in deep gutturals to the 
great delight of the listeners. Fortunate- 
ly for me, the Italian love of sound kept 
my companions still till the speech was 
ended, and then, just as they were turn- 
ing to me for a translation, the inter- 
preter announced his intention of trans- 
lating it for them himself. Nothing else, 
I verily believe, could have saved my 
reputation, and enabled me to retain my 
place as a native-born American. When 
the exhibition was over, — and even with 
the ludicrousness of my part of it, to me 
it was a sad one, — I went behind the 
scenes to take a nearer view of these 
poor victims of avarice. They were sit- 
ting round a warming-pan, looking jaded 
and worn, brutalized beyond even what 
I had first imagined. It was my last sight 
of them, and I was glad of it ; how far 
they went, and how many of them found 
their way back to their native land, I 
never was able to learn. 

Before I left the Rue d'Anjou, it was 
arranged, that, as soon as I had seen a 
little more of Paris, I should go to La 
Grange. " One of the young ladies will 
teach you French," said the General, 
" and you can make your plans for the 
winter at your leisure." 


It was on a bright autumn morning 
that I started for the little village of Ro- 
say, — some two leagues from Paris, and 
the nearest point by diligence to La 
Grange. A railroad passes almost equal- 
ly near to it now, and the French dill' 
gence, hke its English and American 
counterpart, the stage-coach, has long 
since been shorn of its honors. Yet it 
was a pleasant mode of travelling, taking 
you from place to place in a way to give 
you a good general idea of the country 
you were passing through, and bringing 
you into much closer relations with your 
fellow-travellers than you can form in a 
rail-car. There was the crowd at the 


The Home of Lafayette. 


door of the post-house -where you stop- 
ped to change horses, and the little troop 
of wooden-shoed children that followed 
you up the hill, drawling out in unison, 
" Un peu de charite', s'il vous plait," grad- 
ually quickening their pace as the horses 
began to trot, and breaking all off togeth- 
er and tumbling in a heap as they scram- 
bled for the sous that were thrown out to 

For a light, airy people, the French 
have a wonderful facility in making clum- 
sy-looking vehicles. To look at a dili- 
gence, you would say that it was impos- 
sible to guide it through a narrow street, 
or turn it into a gate. The only thing 
an American would think of likening it 
to would be three carriages of different 
shapes fastened together. First came 
ihe Coupe', in shape like an old-fashion- 
ed chariot, with a seat for three per- 
sons, and glass windows in front and 
at the sides that gave you a full view 
of everything on the road. This was 
the post of honor, higher in price, and, 
on long journeys, always secured a day 
or two beforehand. Not the least of its 
advantages was the amusement it afford- 
ed you in watching the postilion and his 
horses, — a never-failing source of merri- 
ment ; and what to those who know how 
important it is, in a set of hungry travel- 
lers, to secure a good seat at table, the 
important fact that the coupe'- door was 
the first door opened, and the coupe- 
passengers received as the most distin- 
guished personages of the party. The 
Inierieur came next : somewhat larger 
than our common coach, with seats for 
six, face to face, two good windows at 
the sides, and netting above for parcels 
of every kind and size : a comfortable 
place, less exposed to jolts than the cou- 
pi even, and much to be desired, if you 
could but make sure of a back-corner and 
an accommodating companion opposite to 
you. Last of all was the Rotonde, with its 
entrance from the rear, its seats length- 
wise, room for six, and compensating in 
part for its comparative inferiority in oth- 
er respects by leaving you free to get in 
and out as you chose, without consulting 

the conductor. This, however, was but 
the first story, or the rooms of state of 
this castle on wheels. On a covered 
dicky, directly above the coupe, and thus 
on the very top of the whole machine, 
was another row of passengers, with the 
conductor in front, looking down through 
the dust upon the world beneath them, 
not very comfortable when the sun was 
hot, still less comfortable of a rainy day, 
but just in the place which of all others 
a real traveller would wish to be in at 
miorning or evening or of a moonlight 
night. The remainder of the top was re- 
served for the baggage, carefully packed 
and covered up securely from dust and 

I had taken the precaution to engage 
a seat in the coupe the day before I set 
out. Of my companions, I am sorry to 
say, I have not the slightest recollection. 
But the road was good, — bordered, as so 
many French roads are, with trees, and 
filled with a thousand objects full of in- 
terest to a young traveller. There was 
the roulage : an immense cart filled with 
goods of all descriptions, and drawn by 
four or five horses, ranged one before an- 
other, each decked with a merry string 
of bells, and generally rising in gradu- 
ated proportions from the full-sized lead- 
er to the enormous thill horse, who bore 
the heat and burden of the day. Some- 
times half a dozen of them would pass 
in a row, the drivers walking together 
and whiling away the time with stories 
and songs. Now and then a post-chaise 
would whirl by with a clattering of wheels 
and cracking of whip that were general- 
ly redoubled as it came nearer to the dili- 
gence, and sank again, when it was pass- 
ed, into comparative moderation both of 
noise and speed. There were foot trav- 
ellers, too, in abundance; and as I saw 
them walking along under the shade of 
the long line of trees that bordered the 
road, I could not help thinking that this 
thoughtful provision for the protection of 
the traveller was the most pleasing indi- 
cation I had yet seen of a country long 

While I was thus looking and won- 


Tlie Home of Lafayette. 


dering, and drawing perhaps the hasty 
comparisons of a novice, I saw a gen- 
tleman coming towards us with a firm, 
quick step, his blue surtout buttoned tight 
over his breast, a hght walking-stick in 
his hand, and with the abstracted air of 
a man who saw something beyond the 
reach of the bodily eye. It was Cooper, 
just returning from a visit to the Gener- 
al, and dreaming perhaps of his forest- 
paths or the ocean. His carriage with 
his family was coming slowly on behind. 
A day earlier and I should have found 
them all at La Grange. 

It was evident that the good people of 
Rosay were accustomed to the sight of 
travellers on their way to La Grange 
with a very small stock of French ; for 
I had hardly named the place, when a 
brisk little fellow, announcing himself as 
the guide of all the Messieurs Ameri- 
cains, swung my portmanteau upon his 
back and set out before me at the regular 
jog-trot of a well-trained porter. The 
distance was but a mile, the country lev- 
el, and we soon came in sight of the cas- 
tle. Castle, indeed, it was, with its point- 
ed Norman towers, its massive walls, and 
broad moat, — memorials of other days, 
— and already gray with age before the 
first roof-tree was laid in the land which 
its owner had helped to build up to a 
great nation. On a hill-side its appear- 
ance would have been grand. As it was, 
it was impressive, and particularly as first 
seen from the road. The portcullis was 
gone, but the arched gateway still re- 
mained, flanked by towers that looked 
sombre and stern, even amidst the deep 
green of the ivy which covered the left 
tower almost to the battlements. I was 
afterwards told that the ivy itself had a 
special significance,— having been plant- 
ed by Charles Fox, during a visit to La 
Grange not long before his death. And 
Fox, it will be remembered, had exert- 
ed all his eloquence to induce the Eng- 
lish Government to demand the liberation 
of Lafayette from Olmiitz, — an act which 
called down upon him at the time the bit- 
terest invectives of party rhetoric, but 
which the historian of England now re- 

cords as a bright page in the fife of one 
of her greatest men. Ah, how different 
would our record be, if we could always 
follow our instinct of immortality, and in 
all our actions look thoughtfully forward 
to the judgment of the future ! 

Passing under the massive arch, I found 
myself in the castle court. Three sides 
of the edifice were still standing, dark- 
ened, indeed, and distained by the winds 
and rains of centuries, but with an air 
of modern comfort and neatness about 
the doors and windows that seemed more 
in keeping than the moat and towers 
with the habits of the present day. The 
other curtain had been thrown down 
years before, — how or why nobody could 
tell me, but not improbably in some of 
the domestic wars which fill and defile 
the annals of mediseval Europe. In those 
days the loss of it must have been a seri- 
ous one ; but for the modern occupant 
it was a real gain,— letting in the air and 
sunlight, and opening a pleasant view of 
green plantations from every window of 
the court. 

A servant met me at the main en- 
trance, a broad stairway directly oppo- 
site the gate, and, taking my card, led 
me up to a spacious hall, where he asked 
me to wait while he went to announce 
my arrival to the General. The hall 
was a large oblong room, plainly, but 
neatly furnished, with a piano at one 
end, its tessellated oaken floor highly 
polished, and communicating by folding- 
doors with an inner room, in which I 
caught a glimpse of a bright wood-fire, 
and a portrait of Bailly over the man- 
tel. On the wall, to the left of the fold- 
ing-doors, was suspended an American 
flag with its blue field of stars and its 
red and white stripes looking down upon 
me in a way that made my American 
veins tingle. 

But I had barely time to look around 
me before I heard a heavy step on the 
stairs, and the next moment the General 
entered. This time he gave me a French 
greeting, pressing me in his arms and 
kissing me on both cheeks. " We were 
expecting you," said he, " and you are 


The Home of Lafayette, 


in good season for dinner. Let me show 
you your room." 

If I had had my choice of all the rooms 
in the castle, I should have chosen the 
very one that had been assigned me. It 
•was on the first — not the ground — floor, 
at the end of a long vaulted gallery and 
in a tower. There was a deep alcove 
from the bed, — a window looking down 
upon the calm waters of the moat, and 
giving glimpses, through the trees, of 
fields and woods beyond, — a fireplace 
with a cheerful fire, which had evident- 
ly been kindled the moment my arrival 
was known, — the tessellated floor with 
its waxen gloss, — and the usual furniture 
of a French bed-room, a good table and 
comfortable chairs. A sugar-bowl filled 
with sparkling beet sugar, and a decan- 
ter of fresh water, on the mantel-piece, 
would have shown me, if there had been 
nothing else to show it, that I was in 
France. The General looked round the 
room to make sure that all was comfort- 
ably arranged for me, and then renew- 
ing his welcome, and telling me that the 
castle -bell would ring for dinner in 
about half an hour, left me to take pos- 
session of my quarters and change my 

If I had not been afraid of getting be- 
lated, I should have sat down awhile to 
collect my thoughts and endeavor to 
realize where I was. But as it was, I 
could do little more than unpack my 
trunk, arrange my books and writing- 
materials on the table, and change my 
dusty clothes, before the bell rang. Oh, 
how that bell sounded through the long 
corridor from its watch-tower over the 
gateway ! And how I shrank back when 
I found myself on the threshold of the 
hall and saw the inner room full ! The 
General must have divined my feelings; 
for, the moment he saw me, he came for- 
ward to meet me, and, taking me by the 
arm, presented me to all the elders of the 
party in turn. He apparently supposed, 
that, with the start I had had in the Rue 
d'Anjou, I should make my way among 
the younger ones myself 

It was a family circle covering three 

generations : the General, his son and 
daughter-in-law and two daughters, and 
ten grandchildren, — among whom I was 
glad to see some of both sexes sufficient- 
ly near my own age to open a very 
pleasant prospect for me whenever I 
should have learnt French enough to 
feel at home among them. Nor was the 
domestic character of the group broken 
by the presence of a son of Casimir 
Perier, who was soon to marry George 
Lafayette's eldest daughter, the Count 
de Segur, the General's uncle, though 
but a month or two his elder, and the 
Count de Tracy, father of Madame 
George de Lafayette, and founder of 
the French school of Ideology, compan- 
ions, both of them, of the General's youth, 
and, at this serene close of a life of 
strange vicissitudes and bitter trials, still 
his friends. Levasseur, his secretary, who 
had accompanied him in his visit to the 
United States, with his German wife, 
a young gentleman whose name I have 
forgotten, but who was the private tutor 
of young Jules de Lasteyrie, and Major 
Frye, an English half- pay officer, of 
whom I shall have a good deal more 
to say by-and-by, completed the circle. 
We formed a long procession to the din- 
ing-room, and I shall never forget how 
awkAvard I felt on finding myself walk- 
ing, with the General's arm in mine, at 
the head of it. There was a certain air 
of high breeding, of respect for others 
founded on self-respect, and a perfect 
familiarity with all the forms of society, 
which relieved me from much of my em- 
barrassment by making me feel instinc- 
tively that nobody would take unpleas- 
ant notice of it. Still, that first dinner 
was a trial to my nerves, though I do 
not remember that the trial interfered 
with my appetite. It was served, of 
course, in courses, beginning with soup 
and ending with fruit. Most of the dish- 
es, as I afterwards learned, were the prod- 
uce of the farm, and they certainly bore 
good witness to the farmer's judgment 
and skill. The General was a hearty 
eater, as most Frenchmen are ; but he 
loved to season his food with conversa- 


The Home of Lafayette. 


tlon, and, much as lie relished his meals, 
he seemed to relish the pleasant talk be- 
tween the courses still more. As I was 
unable to follow the conversation of the 
table, I came in for a large share of the 
' General's attention, "who would turn to 
me every now and then with something 
pleasant to say. He had had the con- 
sideration, too, to place one of the young 
ladies next to me, directly on my right, 
as I was on his ; and her English, though 
not perfectly fluent, was fluent enough to 
enable us to keep up a lively interlude. 

On returning to the drawing-room, the 
General led me up to a portrait of my 
grandfather, and indulged himself for a 
while in endeavoring to trace a resem- 
blance between us. I say indulged ; for 
he often, down to the last time that I 
ever saw him, came back to this subject, 
and seemed to take a peculiar pleasure 
in it. He had been warmly attached 
to General Greene, and the attachment 
which both of them bore to Washington 
served to strengthen their attachment to 
each other. This portrait, a copy from 
Peale, had been one of the fruits of his 
last visit to the United States, and hung, 
with those of some other personal friends, 
— great men all of them, — on the draw- 
ing-room wall. His Washington was a 
bronze from Houdon's bust, and stood 
opposite the mantel-piece on a marble 
pedestal. Conversation and music filled 
up the rest of the evening, and before I 
withdrew for the night it had been ar- 
ranged that I should begin my French 
the next morning, with one of the young 
ladies for teacher. And thus ended my 
first day at La Grange. 


The daily life at La Grange was ne- 
cessarily systematic. The General's po- 
sition compelled him to see a great deal 
of company and exposed him to con- 
stant interruptions. He kept a kind of 
open table, at which part of the faces 
seemed to be changing every day. Then 
there were his own children, with claims 
upon his attention which he was not dis- 

posed to deny, and a large family of 
grandchildren to educate, upon all of 
whose minds he wished to leave personal 
impressions of their intercourse with him 
which should make them feel how much 
he loved and cherished them all. For- 
tunately, the size of the castle made it 
easy to keep the family rooms distant 
from the rooms of the guests ; and a judi- 
cious division of time enabled him to pre- 
serve a degree of freedom in the midst 
of constraint, which, though the rule in 
Europe, American hosts in town or coun- 
try have very little conception of. 

Every one rose at his own hour, and 
was master of his time till eleven. If he 
wanted an early breakfast, he could have 
a cup of cofiee or chocolate or milk in 
his room for the asking. But the family 
breakfast -hour was at eleven, a true 
French breakfast, and attended with all 
the forms of dinner except in dress. The 
castle-bell was rung ; the household col- 
lected in the pfrlor; and all descend- 
ed in one order to the dining-room. It 
was pleasant to see this morning gath- 
ering. The General was almost always 
among the first to come in and take his 
stand by the fireplace, with a cordial 
greeting for each guest in turn. As his 
grandchildren entered, they went up to 
offer their morning salutations to him 
first of all, and there was the paternal 
kiss on the forehead and a pleasant word 
for each. His son and daughters gen- 
erally saw him in his own room before 
they came down. 

Breakfast was a cheerful meal, served 
in courses like dinner, and seasoned with 
conversation, in which every one was free 
to take a part or listen, as he felt dispos- 
ed. There was no hurry, no confusion 
about it; all sat down and rose at the 
same time ; and as every one that worked 
at all had evidently done part of his day's 
work before he came to table, all came 
with good appetites. Then came the 
family walk, all starting out in a group, 
but always sure to break up into smaller 
groups as they went on : the natural law 
of aflUnities never failing to make itself 
felt, and they who found most pleasure 


The Home of Lafayette. 


in each other's society generally ending 
their walk together. Sometimes the Gen- 
eral would come a little way with us, but 
soon turned off to the farm, or dropped be- 
hind and went back to his books and let- 
ters. An hour in the grounds passed quick- 
ly, — too quickly, I often used to think ; 
and then, unless, as occasionally happen- 
ed, there was an excursion on foot which 
all were to take part in, the members of 
the family withdrew to their own apart- 
ments, and the guests were left free to 
fill up the time till dinner as they chose. 
With books, papers, and visits from room 
to room, or strolls about the grounds, the 
hours never lagged; and much as one 
day seemed like another, there was al- 
ways something of its own to remember 
it by. Of course, this regularity was not 
the result of chance. Behind the visible 
curtain was the invisible spirit guiding 
and directing all. It was no easy task 
to provide abundantly, and yet judicious- 
ly, for a family always large, but which 
might at any moment be almost doubled 
without an hour's notice. The farm, as I 
have already said, furnished a full propor- 
tion of the daily supplies, and the Gen- 
eral was the farmer. But the daily task 
of distribution and arrangement fell to 
the young ladies, each of whom took her 
week of housekeeping in turn. The 
very first morning I was admitted be- 
hind the scenes. " If you want anything 
before breakfast,'* said one of the young 
ladies, as the evening circle was breaking 
up, " come down into the butler's room 
and get it." And to the butler's room I 
went; and there, in a calico fitted as 
neatly as the rich silk of the evening be- 
fore, with no papers in her hair, with 
nothing but a richer glow to distinguish 
the morning from the evening face, with 
laughing eyes and busy hands, issuing 
orders and inspecting dishes, stood the 
very girl with whom I was to begin at 
nine my initiation into the mysteries of 
French. There must have been some- 
thing peculiar in the grass which the 
cows fed on at La Grange ; for I used to 
go regularly every morning for my cup 
of milk, and it never disagreed with me. 


Oh, that lesson of French ! Two seats 
at the snug little writing-table, and only 
one witness of my blunders ; for nobody 
ever thought of coming into the drawing- 
room before the breakfast-bell. Unfortu- 
nately for me, OUendorfi" had not yet pub- 
lished his thefts from Manesca ; and in- 
stead of that brisk little war of question 
and answer, which loosens the tongue so 
readily to strange sounds and forms the 
memory so promptly to the combinations 
of a new idiom, I had to struggle on 
through the scanty rules and multitudi- 
nous exceptions of grammar, and pick 
my way with the help of a dictionary 
through the harmonious sentences of 
" Telemaque." And never had sentences 
seemed so harmonious to my ears before ; 
and never, I fear, before had my young 
friend's patience been so sorely tried, or 
her love of fun put under so unnatural a 
restraint. " Calypso ne pouvait se conso- 
ler" over and over and over again, her 
rosy lips moving slowly in order to give 
distinctness to every articulation, and her 
blue eyes fairly dancing with repressed 
laughter at my awkward imitation. If my 
teacher's patience could have given me 
a good pronunciation, mine would have 
been perfect. Day after day she came 
back to her task, and ever as the clock 
told nine would meet me at the door with 
the same genial smile. 

Nearly twenty years afterwards I found 
myself once more in Paris, and at a large 
party at the house of the American Min- 
ister, the late Mr. King. As I was wan- 
dering through the rooms, looking at 
group after group of unknown faces, my 
eye fell upon one that I should have rec- 
ognized at once as that of my first teacher 
of French, if it had not seemed to me 
impossible that twenty years could have 
passed over it so lightly. 

" Who is that lady ? *' I asked of a gen- 
tleman near me, whom it was impossible 
not to set down at once for an Ameri- 

" Why, that is Madame de , a 

grand-daughter of General Lafayette." 


The Home of Lafayette 


I can hardly account, at this quiet mo- 
ment, for the sudden impulse that seized 
me ; but resist it I could not ; and walk- 
ing directly up to her, I made my lowest 
bow, and, without giving her time to look 
me well in the face, repeated, with all the 
gravity I could command, " Calypso ne 
pouvait se consoler du depart d'Ulysse." 

" O ! Monsieur Greene," said she, hold- 
ing out both her hands, "it must be 


General Lafayette had just en- 
tered his seventy-first year. In his child- 
hood he had been troubled by a weak- 
ness of the chest which gave his friends 
some anxiety. But his constitution was 
naturally good, and air, exercise, and ex- 
posure gradually wore away every trace 
of his original debility. In person he 
was tall and strongly built, with broad 
shoulders, large limbs, and a general air 
of strength, which was rather increased 
than diminished by an evident tending 
towards corpulency. While still a young 
man, his right leg — the same, I believe, 
that had been wounded in rallying our 
broken troops at the Brandy wine — was 
fractured by a fall on the ice, leaving him 
lame for the rest of his days. This did 
not prevent him, however, from walking 
about his farm, though it cut him off from 
the use of the saddle, and gave a halt to 
his gait, which but for his dignity of car- 
riage would have approached to awk- 
wardness. Indeed, he had more dignity 
of bearing than any man I ever saw. 
And it was not merely the dignity of 
self-possession, which early familiarity 
with society and early habits of com- 
mand may give even to an ordinary 
man, but that elevation of manner which 
springs from an habitual elevation of 
thought, bearing witness to the purity 
of its source, as a clear eye and ruddy 
cheek bear witness to the purity of the 
air you daily breathe. In some respects 
he was the mercurial Frenchman to the 
last day of his life ; yet his general bear- 
ing, that in which he comes oftenest to 

my memory, was of calm earnestness, 
tempered and mellowed by quick sym- 

His method of life was very regular, — 
the regularity of thirty years of compara- 
tive retirement, following close upon fif- 
teen years of active public life, begun at 
twenty in the army of Washington, and 
ending in a Prussian and Austrian dun- 
geon at thirty-five. 

His private apartments consisted of 
two rooms on the second floor. The first 
was his bed-room, a cheerful, though not 
a large room, nearly square, with a com- 
fortable fireplace, and a window looking 
out upon the lawn and woods behind the 
castle. Just outside of the bed-room, and 
the first object that struck your eye on 
approaching it from the gallery, was a pic- 
ture by one of his daughters, represent- 
ing the burly turnkey of Olmiitz in the 
act of unlocking his dungeon-door. " It 
is a good likeness," said the General to 
me, the first time that he took me to his 
rooms, — "a very good likeness. I re- 
member the features well." From the 
bed-room a door opened into a large tur- 
ret-room, well lighted and airy, and which, 
taking its shape from the tower in which 
it stood, was almost a perfect circle. This 
was the General's library. The books 
were arranged in open cases, filling the 
walls from floor to ceiling, and with a 
neatness and order which revealed an 
artistic appreciation of their effect. It 
was lighted by two windows, one open- 
ing on the lawn, the other on the farm- 
yards, and both, from the thickness of 
the walls, looking like deep recesses. In 
the window that looked upon the farm- 
yards was the General's writing-table 
and seat. A spy-glass lay within reach, 
enabling him to overlook the yard-work 
without rising from his chair; and on 
the table were his farm-books, with the 
record of crops and improvements enter- 
ed in regular order with his own hand. 
Charles Sumner, who visited La Grange 
last summer, tells me that they He there 

The library was miscellaneous, many 
of the books being presentation -copies, 


The Home of Lafayette. 


and most of tliem neatly bound. Its pre- 
dominant character, as nearly as I can 
recollect, was historical ; the history in 
which he had borne so important a part 
naturally coming in for a full share. 
Though not a scholar from choice, Gen- 
eral Lafayette loved books, and was well 
read. His Latin had stood him in stead 
at Olmiitz for his brief communication 
with his surgeon ; and I have a distinct 
impression, though I cannot vouch for 
the correctness of it, that he never drop- 
ped it altogether. His associations were 
too much among men of thought as well 
as men of action, and the responsibilities 
that weighed upon him were too grave, 
to permit so conscientious a man to neg- 
lect the aid of books. Of the historians 
of our Revolution, he preferred Ramsay, 
who had, as he said, put everything into 
his two volumes, and abridged as well as 
Eutropius. It was, perhaps, the pres- 
ence of something of the same quality 
that led him to give the preference, 
among the numerous histories of the 
French Revolution, to Mignet, though, in 
putting him into my hands, he cautioned 
me against that dangerous spirit of fatal- 
ism, which, making man the unconscious 
instrument of an irresistible necessity, 
leaves him no real responsibility for evil 
or for good. 

It was in this room that he passed the 
greater part of the time that was not giv- 
en to his farm or his guests. I never 
entered it without finding him at his 
desk, with his pen or a book in hand. 
His correspondence was so extensive that 
he was always obliged to keep a secre- 
tary, though a large portion of his letters 
were written with his own hand. He 
wrote rapidly in fact, though not rapidly 
to the eye ; and you were surprised, in 
seeing his hand move over the paper, 
to find how soon it reached the bottom 
of the sheet, and how closely it filled it 
up. His handwriting was clear and dis- 
tinct, neither decidedly French nor de- 
cidedly English, — like all his habits and 
opinions, formed early and never changed. 
I have letters of his to my grandfather, 
written during the Revolution, and letters 

of his to myself, written fifty years after 
it, in which it is almost impossible to 
trace the difference between the old man 
and the young one. English he seemed 
to write as readily as French, although 
a strong Gallicism would every now and 
then slip from his pen, as it slipped from 
his tongue. " I had to learn in a hur- 
ry," said he, giving me one day the his- 
tory of his English studies. "I began 
on my passage out, as soon as I got over 
my sea-sickness, and picked up the rest 
in camp. I was compelled to write and 
talk, and so I learned to write and talk. 
The officers were very kind and never 
laughed at me. After the peace, Colonel 
Tarleton came over to Paris, and was 
presented to the King one day when I 
happened to be at Court. The King ask- 
ed him how I spoke English. ' I cannot 
say how he speaks it, Sire,' said the Col- 
onel, ' but I occasionally had the good- 
luck to pick up some of his letters that 
were going the wrong way, and I can 
assure your Majesty that they were very 
well written.' " 

His valet was an old soldier, who had 
served through the Peninsular War, and 
who moved about with the orderly gait 
and quiet air of a man who had passed 
his heyday under the forming influences 
of camp discipline. He was a most re- 
spectable-looking man, as well as a most 
respectful servant ; and it was impossi- 
ble to see him busying himself about the 
General at his morning toilet, and watch 
his dehcate handling of the lather-brush 
and razor, without feeling, that, however 
true the old proverb may have been in 
other cases, Bastien's master was a hero 
to him. 

The General's dress was always sim- 
ple, though studiously neat. His repub- 
licanism was of the school of Washington, 
and would have shrunk from a public 
display of a bare neck and shirt-sleeves. 
Blue was his usual winter color ; a frock- 
coat in the morning, and a dress-coat for 
dinner, and both near enough to the pre- 
vailing fashion to escape remark. He 
had begun serious life too early to have 
ever been anything of a dandy, even if 


The Home of Lafayette, 


Nature had seen fit to contradict her- 
self so far as to have intended him for 

Jewelry I never saw him wear; but 
there was one little compartment in his 
library filled with what in a certain sense 
might be called jewelry, and of a kind 
that he had good reason to be proud of 
In one of the drawers was a sword made 
out of a key of the Bastile, and present- 
ed to him by the city of Paris. The 
other key he sent to Washington. When 
he was a young man the Bastile was a 
reality, and those keys still plied their 
dismal work at the bidding of a power 
as insensible to the suffering it caused 
as the steel of which they were made. 
Of the hundreds who with sinking hearts 
had heard them turn in their massive 
wards, how few had ever come back to 
tell the tale of their misery ! Lafayette 
himself, but for the quick wit of a ser- 
vant-maid, might have passed there some 
of^he youthful days that he passed at the 
side of Washington, and gazed dimly, as 
at a dream, in the Bastile, at what he 
could look back upon as a proud reality 
in Olmlitz. Another of his relics was a 
civic crown, oak-leaf wrought in gold, the 
gift of the city of Lyons ; but this belong- 
ed to a later period, his last visit to Au- 
vergne, the summer before the Revolu- 
tion of July, and which called forth as 
enthusiastic a display of popular affec- 
tion as that which had greeted his last 
visit to America. But the one which he 
seemed to prize most was a very plain 
pair of eye-glasses, in a simple horn case, 
if my memory does not deceive me, but 
which, in his estimation, neither gold nor 
jewels could have replaced, for they had 
once belonged to Washington. " He gave 
them to me," said the General, " on my 
last visit to Mount Vernon." 

He was an early riser, and his work 
began the moment he left his pillow. 
First came his letters, always a heavy 
drain upon his time ; for he had been so 
long a public man that everybody felt 
free to consult him, and everybody that 
consulted him was sure of a polite an- 
swer. Then his personal friends had 

their claims, some of them running back 
to youth, some the gradual accession of 
later years, and all of them cherished with 
that genial and confiding expansiveness 
which was the great charm of his private 
life, and the chief source, when he did 
err, of his errors as a public man. Like 
all the men of Washington's school, he 
was systematically industrious ; and by 
dint of system and industry his immense 
correspondence was seldom allowed to 
get the start of him. Important letters 
were answered as they came, and minutes 
or copies of the answers kept for refer- 
ence. He seemed to love his pen, and 
to write without effort, — never aiming, 
it is true, at the higher graces of style, 
somewhat diffuse, too, both in French and 
in English, but easy, natural, idiomatic, 
and lucid, with the distinctness of clear 
conceptions rather than the precision of 
vigorous conceptions, and a warmth which 
in his public letters sometimes rose, to 
eloquence, and in his private letters of- 
ten made you feel as if you were listen- 
ing instead of reading. 

He was fond of anecdote, and told his 
stories with the fluency of a man accus- 
tomed to public speaking, and the ani- 
mation and point of a man accustomed 
to the society of men of wit as well as of 
men of action. His recollections were 
wonderfully distinct, and it always gave 
me a peculiar thrill to hear him talk about 
the great men he had lived and acted 
with in both hemispheres, as familiarly 
as if he had parted from them only an 
hour before. It was bringing history 
very close to me, and peopling it with 
living beings, — beings of flesh and blood, 
who ate and drank and slept and wore 
clothes as we do ; for here was one of 
them, the friend and companion of the 
greatest among them all, whom I had 
known through books, as I knew them 
long before I knew him in actual life, 
and every one of whose words and ges- 
tures seemed to give me a clearer con- 
ception of what they, too, must have been. 

Still he never appeared to live in the 
recollections of his youth, as most old 
men do. His life was too active a one 


A Field Night in the House of Commons. 


for this, and the great principles he had 
consecrated it to were too far-reaching 
and comprehensive, too full of living, ac- 
tual interest, too fresh and vigorous in 
their vitality, to allow a man of his san- 
guine and active temperament to forget 
himself in the past when there was so 
much to do in the present. This gave a 
peculiar charm to his conversation ; for, 
no matter what the subject might be, he 
always talked like a man who believed 
what he said, and whose faith, a living 
principle of thought and action, was con- 
stantly kept in a genial glow by the quick- 
ness and depth of his sympathies. His 
smile told this ; for it was full of sweet- 
ness and gentleness, though with a dash 
of earnestness about it, an under-current 
of serious thought, that made you feel as 
if you wanted to look behind it, and re- 
minded you, at times, of a landscape at 
sunset, when there is just light enough to 
show you how many things there are in 
it that you would gladly dwell upon, if 
the day were only a little longer. 

His intercourse with his children was 
affectionate and confiding, — that with his 
daughters touchingly so. They had shar- 
ed with him two years of his captivity at 
Olmiitz, and he seemed never to look at 
them without remembering it. They had 
been his companions when he most need- 
ed companionship, and had learnt to enter 
into his feelings and study his happiness 
at an age when most girls are absorbed 
in themselves. The effect of this early 
discipline was never lost. They had 
found happiness where few seek it, in 
self-denial and self-control, a religious 
cultivation of domestic affections, and a 
thoughtful development of their minds as 
sources of strength and enjoyment. They 
were happy, — happy in what they had 
done and in what they were doing, — en- 
tering cheerfully upon the serene even- 
ing of lives consecrated to duty, with 
children around them to love them as 
they had loved their father and mother, 
and that father still with them to tell 
them that they had never deceived him. 


To an intelligent American visiting 
London for the first time, few places of 
interest will present stronger attractions 
than the House of Commons during an 
animated debate. Commencing its exist- 
ence with the first crude ideas of popular 
liberty in England, steadily advancing in 
influence and importance with the in- 
creasing wealth and intelligence of the 
middling class, until it came to hold the 
purse and successfully defend the rights 
of the people, illustrated for many gen- 
erations by the eloquence and the states- 
manship of the kingdom, and to-day wield- 
ing the power and directing the destinies 
of the foremost nation in the world, it is 
not strange that an American, speaking 
the same language, and proud of the same 
ancestry, should visit with the deepest 

interest the scene of so many and so im- 
portant transactions. Especially will this 
be the case, if by experience or obser- 
vation he has become familiar with the 
course of proceedings in our own legisla- 
tive assemblies. For, although the Eng- 
lish House of Commons is the parent of 
all similar deliberative bodies in the civ- 
ilized world, yet its rules and regulations 
are in many respects essentially unique. 

Assuming that many of my readers 
have never enjoyed the opportunity of 
" sitting out a debate " in Parliament, I 
have ventured to hope that a description 
of some of the distinctive features which 
are peculiar to the House of Commons, 
and a sketch of some of its prominent 
members, might not be unwelcome. 

In 1840 the corner-stone of the New 


A Field Night in the House of Commons. [December, 

Palace of Westminster was laid, and at 
the commencement of the session of 1852 
the first official occupation of the House 
of Commons took place. The House of 
Peers was first used in 1847. It is not 
consistent with the object of this article 
to speak of the dimensions and general 
appearance of this magnificent structure. 
It is suflicient to say, that in its architec- 
tural design, in its interior decorations, 
and in its perfect adaptation to the pur- 
poses for which it was erected, it is alike 
creditable to the public spirit of the na- 
tion, and to the improved condition of 
the fine and useful arts in the present 

The entrance to the House of Com- 
mons is through Westminster Hall. What 
wealth of historical recollections is suggest- 
ed by this name ! As, however, we are 
dealing with the present, we dare not 
even touch upon so fruitful a theme, but 
must hasten through the grand old hall, 
remarking only in passing that it is sup- 
posed to have been originally built in 
1097, and was rebuilt by Richard 11. in 
1398. With a single exception, — the 
Hall of Justice in Padua, — it is the lar- 
gest apartment unsupported by pillars in 
the world. Reluctantly leaving this his- 
torical ground, we enter St. Stephen's 
Hall. This room, rich in architectural 
ornaments and most graceful in its pro- 
portions, is still further adorned with 
statues of "men who rose to eminence 
by the eloquence and abilities they dis- 
played in the House of Commons." Who 
will dispute their claims to this distinc- 
tion ? The names selected for such hon- 
orable immortality are Selden, Hamp- 
den, Falkland, Lord Clarendon, Lord 
Somers, Sir Robert Walpole, Lord Chat- 
ham, Lord Mansfield, Burke, Fox, Pitt, 
and Grattan. 

We have now reached the Great Cen- 
tral Hall, out of which open two corri- 
dors, one of which leads to the lobby 
of the House of Lords. Passing through 
the other, we find ourselves in the lobby 
of the House of Commons. Here we 
must pause and look about us. We are 
in a large apartment brilliantly lighted 

and richly decorated. As we stand with 
our backs to the Great Central Hall, the 
passage-way to the right conducts to the 
library and refreshment rooms, that on 
the left is the private entrance of the 
members through the old cloisters of 
Stephen's, that in front is the main en- 
trance to the floor of the House. In the 
corner on our right is a small table, gar- 
nished with all the materials for a cold 
lunch for the use of those members who 
have no time for a more substantial meal 
in the dining-room. Stimulants of vari- 
ous kinds are not wanting ; but the habits 
of Englishmen and the presence of vigi- 
lant policemen prevent any abuse of this 
privilege. The refreshments thus provid- 
ed are open to all, and in this qualified 
sense I may say that I have lunched 
with Disraeli, Lord John Russell, and 
Lord Palmerston. 

But the hour has nearly come for open- 
ing the debate ; members are rapidly ar- 
riving and taking their seats, and we shall 
do well to decide upon the best mode of 
gaining admission to the House. There 
are a few benches on the floor reserv- 
ed, as of right, for peers and their sons, 
and, by courtesy, for gentlemen introdu- 
ced by them. I may be pardoned for pre- 
suming that this high privilege is beyond 
our reach. Our only alternative, then, 
is the galleries. These are, the Speaker's 
Gallery, on the south side of the House, 
and directly opposite the Speaker's chair, 
affording room for between twenty and 
thirty, and the Strangers' Gallery, be- 
hind this, with seats for about sixty. Vis- 
itors have only these limited accommoda- 
tions. The arrangement deprives mem- 
bers of all temptation to " speak to the 
galleries," and is consistent with the 
English theory, that all debates in the 
House should be strictly of a business 
character. And as to anything like ap- 
plause on the part of the spectators, what 
punishment known to any criminal code 
among civilized nations would be too se- 
vere for such an offence ? 

The American Minister (and of course 
every representative of a foreign power) 
has the right to give two cards of admis- 


A Field Night in the House of Commons. 


sion, entitling tlie bearer of each to a 
seat in the Speaker's Gallery. But these 
cards admit only on a specified even- 
ing, and if not used then, are worth- 
less. If you have called on our distin- 
guished representative at the Court of 
St. James, you have probably discovered 
that his list is full for the next fortnight 
at least, and, although the Secretary of 
Legation politely asks your name, and 
promises you the earliest opportunity, 
you retire with a natural feeling of disap- 
pointment. Many Americans, having 
only a few days to spend in London, 
leave the city without making any fur- 
ther effort to visit the House of Com- 
mons. It would certainly have been well 
to forward, in advance of your arrival in 
London, a written application to the Min- 
ister ; but as this has not been done, what 
remains ? Ask your banker for a note 
of introduction to some member of the 
House, and, armed with this epistle, make 
your appearance in the lobby. Give 
the note, with your card, to that grave, 
clerical-looking man in a little box on 
the left of the main entrance, and pa- 
tiently await the approach of the " hon- 
orable gentleman." If the Speaker's 
Gallery is not full, he will have no diffi- 
culty in procuring for you the desired 
admission ; and if at leisure, he will un- 
doubtedly spend a few moments in point- 
ing out the distinguished men who may 
chance to be in attendance. Be sure 
and carry an opera-glass. Without this 
precaution, you will not be able to study 
to your satisfaction the faces of the mem- 
bers, for the House is by no means bril- 
liantly illuminated. If for any reason this 
last expedient does not succeed, must we 
despair for this evening ? We are on 
the ground, and our engagements may 
not leave another so good opportunity. 
I have alluded to the presence of police- 
men in the lobby. Do I dream, or has it 
been whispered to me, that half a crown, 
opportunely and adroitly invested, may 
be of substantial advantage to the wait- 
ing stranger? But by all means insist 
on the Speaker's Gallery. The Stran- 
gers' Gallery is less desirable for many 

VOL. VIII. 43 

reasons, and, being open to everybody 
who has a member's order, is almost in- 
variably crowded. At all events, it should 
be reserved as a dernier resort. As an 
illustration of the kindly feeling towards 
Americans, I may mention, parenthetical- 
ly, that I have known gentlemen admit- 
ted to the Speaker's Gallery on their 
simple statement to the door-keeper that 
they were from the United States. On 
one of these occasions, the official, a civ- 
il personage, but usually grave to the 
verge of solemnity, — the very last man 
you would have selected as capable of 
waggery, — assumed a comical counter- 
feit of terror, and said, — " Bless me ! 
we must be obliging to Americans, or 
who knows what may come of it ? " 

It should be observed, however, that 
on a " field night " not one of the modes 
of admission which I have described will 
be of any service. Nothing will avail 
you then but a place on the Speaker's 
list, and even in that case you must be 
promptly at your post, for " First come 
first served" is the rule. 

But we have hngered long enough in 
the Lobby. Let us take our places in 
the Speaker's Gallery, — for the essayist 
has hardly less power than, according to 
Sydney Smith, has the novelist, and a 
few strokes of the pen shall show you 
what many have in vain longed to see. 

Once there, our attention is instantly 
attracted by observing that almost every 
member, who is not speaking, wears his 
hat. This, although customary, is not 
compulsory. Parliamentary etiquette on- 
ly insists that a member while speaking, 
or moving from place to place, shall be 
uncovered. The gallery opposite the one 
in which we are seated is for the use of 
the reporters. That ornamental brass 
trellis in the rear of the reporters, half 
concealing a party of ladies, is a curious 
compromise between what is due to tra- 
ditional Parliamentary regulations and 
the courtesy to which the fair sex is en- 
titled. This relaxation of the old rules 
dates only from the erection of the new 

The perfect order which prevails among 


A Meld Night in the House of Commons. [December, 

members is another marked feature dur- 
ing the debates. The bewigged and be- 
robed Speaker, seated in his imposing 
high-backed chair, seems rather to be re- 
tained in his place out of due deference 
to time-honored custom than because a 
presiding officer is necessary to preserve 
proper decorum. To be sure, demon- 
strations of applause at a good hit, or of 
discontent with a prosy speaker, are com- 
mon, but anything approaching disorder 
is of rare occurrence. 

The adherence to forms and prece- 
dents is not a little amusing. Take, for 
example, a " division," which corresponds 
to a call for the Ayes and Noes with us. 
To select an instance at random, — there 
happens this evening to be a good deal 
of excitement about some documents 
which it is alleged the Ministry dare not 
produce ; so the minority, who oppose 
the bill under debate, make a great show 
of demanding the papers, and, not being 
gratified, move to adjourn the debate, 
with the design of postponing the passage 
of the obnoxious measure. 

"I move that the debate be adjourn- 

" Who seconds ? '* 

" I do." 

" Those in the affirmative," etc., etc. 

Feeble " Aye." 

Most emphatic " No." 

" The noes have it." 

" No ! " " No ! " 

"Aye!" "Aye!" 

" Divide ! " " Divide ! " in a perfect 
Babel of orderly confusion. 

(Speaker, very solemnly and decided- 

" Strangers must withdraw ! " 
Is the gallery immediately cleared? 
Not a bit of it. Every man retains his 
place. Some even seem, to my fancy, to 
look a sort of grim defiance at the Speak- 
er, as a bold Briton should. It is simply 
a form, which many years ago had some 
•meaning, and, having once been used, 
cannot be discontinued without putting 
the Constitution in jeopardy. Five times 
this evening, the minority, intent on post- 
:poning the debate, call for a division, — 

and as many times are strangers gravely 
admonished to withdraw. 

There are two modes of adjourning 
the House, — by vote of the members, 
and by want of a quorum. The method 
of procedure in the latter case is some- 
what peculiar, and has, of course, the 
sanction of many generations. Suppose 
that a dull debate on an unimportant 
measure, numerous dinner-parties, a fash- 
ionable opera, and other causes, have 
combined to reduce the number of mem- 
bers in attendance to a dozen. It certain- 
ly is not difficult to decide at a glance that 
a quorum (forty) is not present, and I pre- 
sume you are every instant expecting, in 
your innocence, to hear, "Mr. Speaker, 
I move," etc. Pause a moment, my impa- 
tient friend, too long accustomed to the 
reckless haste of our Republican assem- 
blies. Do not, even in thought, tamper 
with the Constitution. " The wisdom of 
our ancestors" has bequeathed another 
and undoubtedly a better mode of arriv- 
ing at the same result. Some member 
quietly intimates to the Speaker that forty 
members are not present. That dignified 
official then rises, and, using his cocked 
hat as an index or pointer, deliberately 
counts the members. Discovering, as the 
apparent result of careful examination, 
that there really is no quorum, he de- 
clares the House adjourned and sits down ; 
whereupon the Sergeant-at-Arms seizes 
the mace, shoulders it, and marches out, 
followed by the Speaker. Then, and not 
until then, is the ceremony complete and 
the House duly adjourned. 

This respect for traditional usage ad- 
mits of almost endless illustration. One 
more example must suffice. When the 
Speaker discovers symptoms of disorder 
in the House, he rises in his place and 
says with all suitable solemnity, " Unless 
Honorable Members preserve order, I 
shall name names ! " and quiet is instant- 
ly restored. What mysterious and appal- 
ling consequences would result from per- 
sistent disobedience, nobody in or out of 
the House has ever known, or probably 
ever will know, — at any rate, no Speak- 
er in Parliamentary annals has been com- 


A Field Night in the Bouse of Commons. 


pelled to adopt the dreaded alternative. 
Shall I be thought wanting in patriotism, 
if I venture to doubt whether so simple 
an expedient would reduce to submission 
an insubordinate House of Representa- 
tives at Washington? 

Like everything else thoroughly Eng- 
lish, speaking in the House of Commons 
is eminently practical. " The bias of the 
nation," says Mr. Emerson, " is a passion 
for utility." Conceive of a company of 
gentlemen agreeing to devote, gratuitous- 
ly, a certain portion of each year to the 
consideration of any questions which may 
concern the public welfare, and you have 
the theory and the practice of the House of 
Commons. Of course there are exceptions 
to this general statement. There are not 
wanting constituencies represented by un- 
fit men ; but such members are not allow- 
ed to consume the time which belongs of 
right to men of capacity and tried ability. 
The test is sternly, almost despotically 
applied. A fair trial is given to a new 
member. If he is " up to his work," his 
name goes on the list of men whom the 
House will hear. If, however, his maid- 
en speech is a failure, " farewell, a long 
farewell" to all his political aspirations. 
Few^ men have risen from such a fall. 
Now and then, as in the well-known in- 
stances of Sheridan, Disraeli, and some 
less prominent names, real genius, aided 
by dogged determination, has forced its 
way upward in spite of early ill-success ; 
but such cases are very rare. The rule 
may work occasional injustice, but is it 
after all so very unreasonable ? " Talk- 
ing," they contend, " must be done by 
those who have something to say." 

Everything one sees in the House par- 
takes of this practical tendency. There 
are no conveniences for writing. A mem- 
ber who should attempt to read a manu- 
script speech would never get beyond 
the first sentence. Nor does anybody 
ever dream of writing out his address and 
committing it to memory. In fact, noth- 
ing can be more informal than their man- 
ner in debate. You see a member rising 
with his hat in one hand, and his gloves 
and cane in the other. It is as if he had 

just said to his neighbor, " I have taken 
a good deal of interest in the subject un- 
der discussion, and have been at some 
pains to understand it. I am inclined to 
tell the House what I think of it." So 
you find him on the floor, or " on his 
legs," in parliamentary phrase, carrying 
this intention into effect in a simple, 
business-like, straightforward way. But 
if our friend is very long, or threatens to 
be tedious, I fear that unequivocal and 
increasing indications of discontent will 
oblige him to resume his seat in undig- 
nified haste. 

Perhaps no feature of the debates in 
the House of Commons deserves more 
honorable mention than the high-toned 
courtesy which regulates the intercourse 
of members. 

Englishmen have never been charged 
with a want of spirit ; on the contrary, 
they are proverbially " plucky," and yet 
the House is never disgraced by those 
shameful brawls which have given to our 
legislative assemblies, state and national, 
so unenviable a reputation throughout the 
civilized world. How does this happen ? 
To Englishmen it does not seem a very 
difficult matter to manage. If one mem- 
ber charges another with ungentlemanly 
or criminal conduct, he must follow up 
his charge and prove it, — in which case 
the culprit is no longer recognized as a 
gentleman ; or if he fails to make good 
his accusation, and neglects to atone for 
his offence by ample and satisfactory 
apologies, he is promptly "sent to Cov- 
entry" as a convicted calumniator. No 
matter how high his social position may 
have been, whether nobleman or com- 
moner, he shall not escape the disgrace 
he has deserved. And to forfeit one's 
standing among English gentlemen is a 
punishment hardly less severe than to 
lose caste in India. In such a commu- 
nity, what need of duels to vindicate 
wounded honor or establish a reputation 
for courage ? 

The members of the present House of 
Commons were elected in the spring of 
1859. Among their number are several 
men who, in point of capacity, eloquence. 


A Field Night in the House of Commons. [December, 

and political experience, will compare not 
unfavorably with the ablest statesmen 
whom England has known for genera- 
tions. I have thought that some descrip- 
tion of their appearance and mental char- 
acteristics might not be unacceptable to 
American readers. As the best mode of 
accomplishing this object, I shall select 
an occasion, which, from the importance 
of the question under discussion, the deep 
interest which it awakened, and the abil- 
ity with which it was treated, certainly 
presented as favorable an opportunity as 
could ever occur to form a correct opin- 
ion of the best speaking talent in the 
kingdom. The debate to which I allude 
took place early in the month of July, 

My name being fortunately on the first 
list for the Speaker's Gallery, I had no 
difficulty in taking my place the moment 
the door was open. It will be readily be- 
lieved that every seat was soon filled. In 
front of the Speaker's Gallery is a single 
row of seats designed for foreign ambas- 
sadors and peers. The first man to enter 
it was Mr. Dallas, and he was presently 
followed by other members of the diplo- 
matic corps, and several distinguished no- 

It was very interesting to an American 
that almost the first business of the even- 
ing concerned his own country. Some 
member of the House asked Lord John 
Russell, then Secretary for Foreign Af- 
fairs, if he had received any recent de- 
spatches from the United States relating 
to the San Juan difficulty. It will be re- 
membered, or would be, but for the rapid 
march of more momentous events, that 
only a short time before, news had reach- 
ed England that General Harney, violat- 
ing the explicit instructions of General 
Scott, so wisely and opportunely issued, 
had claimed for the United States exclu- 
sive jurisdiction over the island of San 
Juan. Lord John replied by stating what 
had been the highly honorable and judi- 
cious policy of General Scott, and the un- 
warrantable steps subsequently taken by 
General Harney, — that Lord Lyons had 
, communicated information of the conduct 

of General Harney to President Buchan- 
an, who had recalled that officer, and had 
forwarded instructions to his successor to 
continue in the course marked out by 
General Scott. This gratifying announce- 
ment was greeted in the House with hear- 
ty cheers, — a spontaneous demonstra- 
tion of delight, which proved not only that 
the position of aifairs on this question was 
thought to be serious, but also the genu- 
ine desire of Englishmen to remain in am- 
icable relations with the United States. 

To this brief business succeeded the 
great debate of the session. Let me en- 
deavor, at the risk of being tedious, to ex- 
plain the exact question before the House. 
Mr. Gladstone, in his speech on the Budg- 
et, had pledged the Ministry to a consid- 
erable reduction of the taxes for the com- 
ing year. In fulfilment of this pledge, it 
had been decided to remit the duty on pa- 
per, thereby abandoning about £1,500,- 
000 of revenue. A bill to carry this plan 
into effect passed to its second reading by 
a majority of fifty-three. To defeat the 
measure the Opposition devoted all its en- 
ergies, and with such success that the bill 
passed to its third reading by the greatly 
reduced majority of nine. Emboldened 
by this almost victory, the Conservatives 
determined to give the measure its coup 
de grace in the House of Lords. The 
Opposition leaders. Lord Derby, Lord 
Lyndhurst, Lord Ellenborough, and oth- 
ers, attacked the bill, and the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer, its acknowledged au- 
thor, with as much bitterness and severity 
as are ever considered compatible with 
the dignified decorum of that aristocratic 
body ; all the Conservative forces were 
rallied, and, what with the votes actually 
given and the proxies, the Opposition ma- 
jority was immense. 

Now all this was very easily and verj^ 
quickly done. The Conservatives were ex- 
ultant, and even seemed sanguine enough 
to believe that the Ministry had received 
a fatal blow. But they forgot, in the first 
flush of victory, that they were treading 
on dangerous ground, — that they were 
meddling with what had been regarded 
for centuries as the exclusive privilege 


A Field Night in the House of Commons. 


of the House of Commons. English Par- 
liamentary history teaches no clearer les- 
son than that the right to pass "Mon- 
ey Bills," without interference from the 
House of Lords, has been claimed and 
exercised by the House of Commons for 
several generations. The public was not 
slow to take the alarm. To be sure, sev- 
eral causes conspired to lessen somewhat 
the popular indignation. Among these 
were the inevitable expenses of the Chi- 
nese War, the certainty of an increased 
income tax, if the bill became a law, and 
the very small majority which the meas- 
ure finally received in the House of Com- 

Nevertheless, the public mind was deep- 
ly moved. The perils of such a prece- 
dent were evident enough to any thinking 
man. Although the unwearied exertions 
of Bright, Roebuck, and other leading 
Radicals, could not arouse the people to 
that state of unreasoning excitement in 
which these demagogues delight, yet the 
tone of the press and the spirit of the 
public meetings gave proof that the im- 
portance of the crisis was not wholly 
underrated. These meetings were fre- 
quent and largely attended ; inflammato- 
ry speeches were made, strong resolutions 
passed, and many petitions numerously 
signed, protesting against the recent con- 
duct of the Lords, were presented to the 
popular branch of Parliament. 

In the House of Commons the action 
was prompt and decided. A committee 
was immediately appointed to search for 
precedents, and ascertain if such a pro- 
ceeding was justified by Parliamentary 
history. The result of this investigation 
was anxiously awaited both by the Com- 
mons and the nation. To the disappoint- 
ment of everybody, the committee, after 
patient and protracted research, submit- 
ted a report, giving no opinion whatever 
on the question, but merely reciting all 
the precedents that bore on the subject. 

It must be confessed that the condition 
of affairs was not a little critical. Both 
the strength of the Ministry and the dig- 
nity of the House of Commons were in- 
volved in the final decision. But, unfor- 

tunately, the Ministerial party was far 
from being a unit on the question. Bright 
and the " Manchester School " demand- 
ed an uncompromising and defiant atti- 
tude towards the Lords. Lord Palmer- 
ston was for asserting the rights and priv- 
ileges of the Commons, but for avoiding 
a collision. Where Mr. Gladstone would 
be found could not be precisely predict- 
ed ; but he was understood to be deeply 
chagrined at the defeat of his favorite 
measure, and to look upon the action 
of the Peers as almost a personal insult. 
Lord John Russell was supposed to oc- 
cupy a position somewhere between the 
Premier and the Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer. If the leaders were thus divid- 
ed in opinion, there was no less diversity 
of views among their followers. Some 
did not at all appreciate the nature or 
magnitude of the question, a few sympa- 
thized with the Conservatives, and very 
many were satisfied that a mistake had 
been made in sacrificing so large a source 
of revenue at a time when the immediate 
prospect of war with China and the con- 
dition of the national defences rendered 
it important to increase, rather than di- 
minish the available funds in the treasury. 
The Opposition, of course, were ready to 
take advantage of any weak points in the 
position of their adversaries, and were 
even hoping that the Ministerial dissen- 
sions might lead to a Ministerial defeat. 

It was under these circumstances that 
Lord Palmerston rose to define the posi- 
tion of the Ministry, to vindicate the hon- 
or and dignity of the Commons, to avert 
a collision with the House of Lords, and, 
in general, to extricate the councils of 
the nation from an embarrassing and dan- 
gerous dilemma. 

A word about the personnel of the Pre- 
mier, and a glance at some of his political 
antecedents. His Lordship has been for 
so many years in public life, and a mark- 
ed man among English statesmen, that, 
either by engraving, photograph, or per- 
sonal observation, his face is familiar to 
many Americans. And, certainly, there 
is nothing in his features or in the ex- 
pression of his countenance to indicate 


A Field Night in the House of Commons. [December, 

genius or even ability. He is simply a 
burly Englishman, of middling height, 
•with an air of constant good-humor and 
a very pleasant understanding with him- 
self. Perhaps the first thing about him 
which impresses an American, accustom- 
ed at home to dyspeptic politicians and 
statesmen prematurely old, is his physical 
activity. Fancy a man of seventy- six, 
who has been in most incessant political 
life for more than fifty years, sitting out a 
debate of ten hours without flinching, and 
then walking to his house in Piccadilly, 
not less than two miles. And his body is 
not more active than hisTmind. He does 
something more than sit out a debate. 
Not a word escapes him when a promi- 
nent man is on his legs. Do not be de- 
ceived by his lazy attitude or his sleepy 
expression. Not a man in the House 
has his wits more thoroughly about him. 
Ever ready to extricate his colleagues 
from an awkward difiiculty, to evade a 
dangerous question, — making, with an air 
of transparent candor, a reply in which 
nothing is answered, — to disarm an an- 
gry opponent with a few conciliatory or 
complimentary words, or to demolish him 
with a little good-humored raillery which 
sets the House in a roar ; equally skilful 
in attack and retreat : such, in a word, 
is the bearing of this gay and gallant vet- 
eran, from the beginning to the end of 
each debate, during the entire session of 
Parliament. He seems absolutely insen- 
sible to fatigue. " I happened," said a 
member of the House, writing to a friend, 
last summer, " to follow Lord Palmerston, 
as he left the cloak-room, the other morn- 
ing, after a late sitting, and, as I was go- 
ing his way, I thought I might as well see 
how he got over the ground. At first he 
seemed a little stifi* in the legs ; but when 
he warmed to his work he began to pull 
out, and before he got a third of the way 
he bowled along splendidly, so that he 
put me to it to keep him in view. Per- 
haps in a few hours after that long sit- 
ting and that walk home, and the brief 
sleep that followed, the Premier might 
have been seen standing bolt upright at 
one end of a great table in Cambridge 

House, receiving a deputation from the 
country, listening with patient and cour- 
teous attention to some tedious spokes- 
man, or astonishing his hearers by his 
knowledge of their affairs and his inti- 
macy with their trade or business." On 
a previous night, I had seen Lord Palmer- 
ston in his seat in the House from 4 p. m. 
until about 2 a. m., during a dull debate, 
and was considerably amused when he 
rose at that late or early hour, and " beg- 
ged to suggest to honorable gentlemen," 
that, although he was perfectly willing to 
sit there until daylight, yet he thought 
something was due to the Speaker, (a 
hale, hearty man, sixteen years his jun- 
ior,) and as there was to be a session at 
noon of that day, he hoped the debate 
would be adjourned. The same sugges- 
tion had been fruitlessly made half a doz- 
en times before ; but the Premier's man- 
ner was irresistible, and amid great laugh- 
ter the motion prevailed. The Speaker, 
with a grateful smile to the member for 
Tiverton, immediately and gladly retired, 
but the indefatigable leader remained at 
his post an hour longer, while the House 
was sitting in Committee on Supplies. 

But his Parliamentary duties by no 
means fill up the measure of his public 
labors. Deputations representing all sorts 
of interests w^ait on him almost daily, his 
presence is indispensable at all Cabinet 
consultations, and as Prime Minister he 
gives tone and direction to the domestic 
and foreign policy of the English govern- 
ment. How much is implied in these 
duties and responsibilities must be ap- 
parent to all who speak the English lan- 

Now what is the secret of this vigorous 
old age, after a life spent in such arduous 
avocations ? Simply this, that a consti- 
tution robust by nature has been pre- 
served in its strength by regular habits 
and out-door exercise. If I were to re- 
peat the stories I have heard, and seen 
stated in English newspapers, of the feats, 
pedestrian and equestrian, performed by 
Lord Palmerston from early manhood 
down to the present writing, I fear I should 
be suspected by some of my readers of 


A Field Night in the House of Commons. 


offering an insult to their understanding. 
I must therefore content myself with say- 
ing that very few young men of our day 
and country could follow him in the field 
or keep up with him on the road. 

A word about Lord Palmerston's po- 
litical antecedents. Beginning as Junior 
Lord of the Admiralty in the Duke of 
Portland's Ministry, in 1808, he has since 
been once Secretary of War, five times 
Prime Minister, and once Secretary of 
State. From 1811 to 1831 he represent- 
ed Cambridge University. Since 1835 
he has represented Tiverton. It may be 
safely asserted that no man now living in 
England has been so long or so promi- 
nently in public office, and probably no 
man presents a more correct type of the 
Liberal, although not Radical, sentiment 
of England. 

It may be well to state that on this 
evening there was an unusually large 
attendance of members. Not only were 
all the benches on the floor of the House 
filled, but the rare spectacle was present- 
ed of members occupying seats in the 
east and west galleries. These unfor- 
tunates belonged to that class who are 
seldom seen in their places, but who are 
sometimes whipped in by zealous parti- 
sans, when important questions are un- 
der consideration, and a close vote may 
be expected. Their listless faces and 
sprawling attitudes proved clearly enough 
that they were reluctant and bored spec- 
tators of the scene. It deserves to be 
mentioned, also, that, although there are 
six hundred and fifty-six actual members 
of the House, the final vote on the ques- 
tion showed, that, even on that eventful 
night, only four hundred and sixty-two 
were present. The average attendance 
is about three hundred. 

At half-past four, the Premier rose to 
address the House. He had already giv- 
en due notice that he should introduce 
three resolutions, which, considering the 
importance of the subject, I make no 
apology for giving in full. 

" 1. That the right of granting aids 
and supplies to the Crown is in the Com- 
mons alone as an essential part of their 

Constitution, and the limitation of all such 
grants, as to the matter, manner, meas- 
ure, and time, is only in them. 

" 2. That, although the Lords have ex- 
ercised the power of rejecting bills of 
several descriptions relating to taxation 
by negativing the whole, yet the exer- 
cise of that power by them has not been 
frequent, and is justly regarded by this 
House with peculiar jealousy, as affect- 
ing the right of the Commons to grant 
the supplies and to provide the ways and 
means for the service of the year. 

" 3. That, to guard for the future 
against an undue exercise of that power 
by the Lords, and to secure to the Com- 
mons their rightful control over taxation 
and supply, this House has in its own 
hands the power so to impose and remit 
taxes, and to frame Bills of Supply, that 
the right of the Commons as to the mat- 
ter, manner, measure, and time may be 
maintained inviolate." 

The burden of the speech by which 
the Premier supported these resolutions 
was this. The assent of both Houses is 
necessary to a bill, and each branch pos- 
sesses the power of rejection. But in re- 
gard to certain bills, to wit. Money Bills, 
the House claims, as its peculiar and ex- 
clusive privilege, the right of originating, 
altering, or amending them. As the Lords 
have, however, the right and power of as- 
senting, they have also the right and pow- 
er of rejecting. He admitted that they 
had frequently exercised this right of re- 
jection. Yet it must be observed, that, 
when they had done so, it had been in 
the case of bills involving taxes of small 
amount, or connected with questions of 
commercial protection. No case had 
ever occurred precisely like this, where 
a bill providing for the repeal of a tax 
of large amount, and on the face of it un- 
mixed with any other question, had been 
rejected by the Lords. 

" But, in point of fact," he continued, 
" was there not another question involv- 
ed ? Was it not clear, that, the bill hav- 
ing passed by a majority greatly reduced 
since its second reading, the Lords may 
have thought that it would be well to give 


A Field Night in the House of Commons. [December, 

the Commons further time to reflect ? In- 
deed, was there not abundant reason to 
believe that the Lords were not really- 
initiating a new and dangerous policy, 
that of claiming to be partners with the 
House in originating and disposing of 
Money Bills ? Therefore, would it not 
be sufficient for the House firmly to as- 
sert its rights, and to intimate the jeal- 
ous care with which it intended to guard 
against their infringement ? " 

Of course, this brief and imperfect ab- 
stract of an hour's speech can do no sort 
of justice to its merits. It is much easier 
to describe its effect upon the House. 
From the moment when the Premier ut- 
tered his opening sentence, " I rise upon 
an occasion which will undoubtedly rank 
as one of the first in importance among 
those which have occurred in regard to 
our Parliamentary proceedings," he com- 
manded the closest attention of the House. 
And yet he was neither eloquent, impres- 
sive, nor even earnest. There was not 
the slightest attempt at declamation. His 
voice rarely rose above a conversational 
tone, and his gestures were not so numer- 
ous or so decided as are usual in animated 
dialogue. His air and manner were rath- 
er those of a plain, well-informed man 
of business, not unaccustomed to public 
speaking, who had some views on the sub- 
ject under discussion which he desired to 
present, and asked the ear of the House 
for a short hour while he defined his po- 

No one who did not appreciate the 
man and the occasion would have dream- 
ed that he was confronting a crisis which 
might lead to a change in the Ministry, 
and might array the two Houses of Par- 
liament in angry hostility against each 
other. But here lay the consummate skill 
of the Premier. He was playing a most 
difficult role, and he played it to perfec- 
tion. He could not rely on the support 
of the Radicals. He must therefore make 
amends for their possible defection by 
drawing largely on the Conservative 
strength. The great danger was, that, 
while conciliating the Conservatives by 
a show of concession, he should alienate 

his own party by seeming to concede too 
much. Now, that the effect which he 
aimed to produce excluded all declama- 
tion, all attempt at eloquence, anything 
like flights of oratory or striking figures 
of rhetoric, nobody understood better than 
Lord Palmerston. 

In view of all these circumstances, the 
adroitness, the ability, the sagacity, and 
the success of his speech were most won- 
derful. Gladstone was more philosophi- 
cal, statesmanlike, and eloquent ; White- 
side more impassioned and vehement ; 
Disraeli more witty, sarcastic, and telling ; 
but Lord Palmerston displayed more of 
those qualities without which no one can 
be a successful leader of the House of 
Commons. The result was, that two of 
the resolutions passed without a division, 
and the third was carried by an immense 
majority. The Prime Minister had un- 
derstood the temper of the House, and 
had shaped his course accordingly. As 
we have seen, he succeeded to a marvel. 
But was it such a triumph as a great and 
far-reaching statesman would have de- 
sired ? And this brings us to the other 
side of the picture. 

Dexterous, facile, adroit, politic, versa- 
tile, — as Lord Palmerston certainly is, — 
fertile in resources, prompt to seize and 
use to the utmost every advantage, en- 
dowed with unusual popular gifts, and 
blessed with imperturbable good-humor, 
it cannot be denied that in many of the 
best and noblest attributes of a statesman 
he is sadly deficient. His fondness for 
political power and his anxiety to achieve 
immediate success inevitably lead him to 
resort to temporary and often unworthy 
expedients. A manly rehance on gen- 
eral principles, and a firm faith in the 
ultimate triumph of right and justice, con- 
stitute no part of his character. He lives 
only in the present. That he is making 
history seems never to occur to him. He 
does not aspire to direct, but only aims to 
follow, or at best to keep pace with public 
opinion. What course he will pursue on 
a given question can never be safely pre- 
dicted, until you ascertain, as correctly as 
he can, what is the prevaiUng temper of 


A Field Night in the House of Commons, 


the House or the nation. That he will 
try to " make things pleasant," to concili- 
ate the Opposition without weakening the 
strength of his own party, you may be 
sure ; but for any further clue to his poli- 
cy you must consult the press, study the 
spirit of Parliament, and hear the voice 
of the people. I know no better illustra- 
tion to prove the justice of this view of 
the Premier's political failing than his 
bearing in the debate which I am at- 
tempting to describe. Here was a grave 
constitutional question. The issue was a 
simple and clear one. Had the Lords the 
right to reject a Money Bill which had 
passed the House ? If historical prece- 
dents settled the question clearly, then 
there was no difficulty in determining the 
matter at once, and almost without dis- 
cussion. If, however, there were no pre- 
cedents bearing precisely on this case, 
then it was all the more important that 
this should be made the occasion of a set- 
tlement of the question so unequivocal 
and positive as effectually to guard against 
future complication and embarrassment. 
Now how did the Premier deal with this 
issue ? He disregarded the homely wis- 
dom contained in the pithy bull of Sir 
Boyle Roche, that " the best way to avoid 
a dilemma is to meet it plump." He 
dodged the dilemma. His resolutions, 
worded with ingenious obscurity, skilfully 
evaded the important aspect of the con- 
troversy, and two of them, the second 
and third, gave equal consolation to the 
Liberals and the Conservatives. So that, 
in fact, it is reserved for some future Par- 
liament, in which it cannot be doubted 
that the Radical element will be more 
numerous and more powerful, to deter- 
mine what should have been decided on 
tliis very evening. It was cleverly done, 
certainly, and extorted from all parties 
and members of every shade of political 
opinion that admiration which the success- 
ful performance of a difficult and critical 
task must always elicit. But was it states- 
manlike, or in any high sense patriotic or 
manly ? 

The Premier was followed by R. P. 
Collier, representing Plymouth. He had 

been on the committee to search for pre- 
cedents, and he devoted an hour to show- 
ing that there was not, in all Parliamen- 
tary history, a single precedent justifying 
the action of the Lords. His argument 
was clear and convincing, and the result 
of it was, that no bill simply imposing or 
remitting a tax had ever in a single in- 
stance been rejected by the Upper House. 
In all the thirty-six cases relied on by the 
Opposition there was always some other 
principle involved, which furnished plau- 
sible justification for the course adopted 
by the Lords. 

To this speech I observed that Mr. 
Gladstone paid strict attention, occasion- 
ally indicating his assent by an approv- 
ing nod, or by an encouraging " Hear ! 
Hear ! " It is rare, indeed, that any speak- 
er in the House secures the marked atten- 
tion or catches the eye of the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer. 

To Collier succeeded Coningham, mem- 
ber for Brighton. Now as this honorable 
member was prosy and commonplace, not 
to say stupid, I should not detain my read- 
ers with any allusion to his speech, but 
as illustrating a prominent and very cred- 
itable feature of the debates in the House. 
That time is of some value, and that 
no remarks can be tolerated, unless they 
are intelligent and pertinent, are cardinal 
doctrines of debate, and are quite rigid- 
ly enforced. At the same time mere dul- 
ness is often overlooked, as soon as it ap- 
pears that the speaker has something to 
say which deserves to be heard. But 
there is one species of oratory which is 
never tolerated for a moment, and that is 
the sort of declamation which is designed 
merely or mainly for home-consumption, 
— speaking for Buncombe, as we call it. 
The instant, therefore, that it was evi- 
dent that Mr. Coningham was address- 
ing, not the House of Commons, but his 
constituents at Brighton, he was inter- 
rupted by derisive cheers and contemp- 
tuous groans. Again and again did the 
indignant orator attempt to make his 
voice heard above the confusion, but in 
vain ; and when, losing all presence of 
mind, he made the fatal admission, — "I 


A Field Night in the House of Commons. [December, 

can tell Honorable Gentlemen that I 
have just returned from visiting my con- 
stituents, and I can assure the House 

that more intelligent" the tumult 

became so great, that the remainder of 
the sentence was entirely lost. Seeing 
his mistake, Mr. Coningham changed his 
ground. "I appeal to the courtesy of 
Honorable Members ; I do not often tres- 
pass upon the House ; I implore them to 
give me a patient and candid hearing." 
This appeal to the love of " fair play," so 
characteristic of Englishmen, produced 
immediately the desired effect, and the 
member concluded without further inter- 

Mr. Edwin James was the next promi- 
nent speaker. He has won a wide repu- 
tation as a barrister, chiefly in the man- 
agement of desperate criminal cases, cul- 
minating in his defence of Dr. Barnard, 
charged with being accessory to the at- 
tempted assassination of Louis Napoleon. 
The idol of the populace, he was elected 
by a large majority in May, 1859, as an 
extreme Liberal or Radical, to represent 
Marylebone in the present Parliament. 
His warmest admirers will hardly con- 
tend that since his election he has done 
anything to distinguish himself, or even 
to sustain the reputation which his suc- 
cess as an advocate had earned for him. 
The expensive vices to which he has long 
been addicted have left him bankrupt in 
character and fortune. His large profes- 
sional income has been for some years re- 
ceived by trustees, who have made him 
a liberal allowance for his personal ex- 
penses, and have applied the remainder 
toward the payment of his debts. His 
recent disgraceful flight from England, 
and the prompt action of his legal breth- 
ren in view of his conduct, render it high- 
ly improbable that he will ever return to 
the scene of his former triumphs and ex- 
cesses. Besides its brevity, which was 
commendable, his speech this evening 
presented no point worthy of comment. 

Since the opening remarks of Lord 
Palmerston, five Radicals had addressed 
the House. Without exception they had 
denounced the action of the Lords, and 

more than one had savagely attacked the 
Opposition for supporting the proceedings 
of the Upper House. They had contend- 
ed that the Commons were becominir con- 

temptible in the eyes of the nation by their 
failure to take a manly position in de- 
fence of their rights. To a man, they had 
assailed the resolutions of the Premier as 
falling far short of the dignity of the oc- 
casion and the importance of the crisis, or, 
at best, as intentionally ambiguous. Thus 
far then the Radicals. The Opposition had 
listened to them in unbroken and often 
contemptuous silence, enjoying the differ- 
ence of opinion in the Ministerial party, 
but reserving themselves for some foe- 
man worthy of their steel. Nor was there, 
beyond a vague rumor, any clue to the 
real position of the Cabinet on the whole 
question. Only one member had spoken 
for the Government, and it was more than 
suspected that he did not quite correctly 
represent the views of the Ministry. 

If any one of my readers had been in 
the Speaker's Gallery on that evening, 
his attention would have been arrested 
by a member on the Ministerial benches, 
a little to the right of Lord Palmerston. 
His face is the most striking in the House, 
— grave, thoughtful, almost stern, but 
lighting up with wonderful beauty when 
he smiles. Usually, his air is rather ab- 
stracted, — not, indeed, the manner of one 
whose thoughts are wandering from the 
business under debate, but rather of one 
who is thinking deeply upon what is pass- 
ing around him. His attitude is not grace- 
ful : lolling at full length, his head rest- 
ing on the back of the seat, and his legs 
stretched out before him. He is always 
neatly, but never carefully dressed, and 
his bearing is unmistakably that of a schol- 
ar. Once or twice since we have been 
watching him, he has scratched a few 
hasty memoranda on the back of an en- 
velope, and now, amid the silence of gen- 
eral expectation, the full, clear tones of 
his voice are heard. He has not spoken 
five minutes before members who have 
taken advantage of the dulness of recent 
debaters to dine, or to fortify themselves 
in a less formal way for the night's work 


A Field Night in the House of Commons. 


before them, begia to flock to their seats. 
Not an eye wanders from the speaker, and 
the attention which he commands is of the 
kind paid in the House only to merit and 
abihty of the highest order. And, certain- 
ly, the orator is not unworthy of this silent, 
but most respectful tribute to his talents. 
His manner is earnest and animated, his 
enunciation is beautifully clear and dis- 
tinct, the tones of his voice are singular- 
ly pleasing and persuasive, stealing their 
way into the hearts of men, and charm- 
ing them into assent to his propositions. 
One can easily understand why he is 
called the " golden-tongued." 

This is Mr. Gladstone, Chancellor of 
the Exchequer, by right of eloquence, 
statesmanship, and scholarly attainments, 
the foremost man in England. I cannot 
hope to give a satisfactory description of 
his speech, nor of its effect upon the 
House. His eloquence is of that quality 
to which no sketch, however accurate, 
can do justice. Read any one of his 
speeches, as reported with astonishing 
correctness in the London " Times," and 
you will appreciate the clear, philosophi- 
cal statement of political truth, — the dig- 
nified, elevated, statesmanlike tone, — the 
rare felicity of expression, — the rhetorical 
beauty of style, never usurping the place 
of argument, though often concealing the 
sharp angles of his relentless logic, — the 
marvellous ease with which he makes the 
dry details of finance not only instructive, 
but positively fascinating, — his adroit- 
ness in retrieving a mistake, or his saga- 
city in abandoning, in season, an inde- 
fensible position, — the lofty and indig- 
nant scorn with which he sometimes con- 
descends to annihilate an insolent adver- 
sary, or the royal courtesy of his occa- 
sional compliments. But who shall be 
able to describe those attributes of his 
eloquence which address themselves on- 
ly to the ear and eye : that clear, reso- 
nant voice, never sinking into an inau- 
dible whisper, and never rising into an 
ear-piercing scream, its tones always ex- 
actly adapted to the spirit of the words, 
— that spare form, wasted by the severe 
study of many years, which but a mo- 

ment before was stretched in languid 
ease on the Treasury benches, now dilat- 
ed with emotion, — that careworn coun- 
tenance inspired with great thoughts : 
what pen or pencil can do justice to 
these ? 

If any one of that waiting audience has 
been impatiently expectant of some words 
equal to this crisis, some fearless and man- 
ly statement of the real question at issue, 
his wish shall be soon and most fully grat- 
ified. Listen to his opening sentence, 
which contains the key-note to his whole 
speech : — "It appears to be the determi- 
nation of one moiety of this House that 
there shall be no debate upon the consti- 
tutional principles which are involved in 
this question ; and I must say, that, con- 
sidering that gentlemen opposite are up- 
on this occasion the partisans of a gigan- 
tic innovation, — the most gigantic and 
the most dangerous that has been at- 
tempted in modern times, — I may com- 
pliment them upon the prudence they 
show in resolving to be its silent parti- 
sans." After this emphatic exordium, 
which electrified the House, and was fol- 
lowed by such a tempest of applause as 
for some time to drown the voice of the 
speaker, he proceeded at once to demon- 
strate the utter folly and error of con- 
tending that the action of the Lords was 
supported or justified by any precedent. 
Of course, as a member of the Cabinet, 
he gave his adhesion to the resolutions 
before the House, and indorsed the speech 
of the Premier. But, from first to last, 
he treated the question as its importance 
demanded, as critical and emergent, not 
to be passed by in silence, nor yet to be 
encountered with plausible and concilia- 
tory expedients. He reserved to him- 
self " entire freedom to adopt any mode 
•which might have the slightest hope of 
success, for vindicating by action the 
rights of the House." 

In fact, he alone of all the speakers of 
the evening rose to " the height of the 
great argument." He alone seemed to 
feel that the temporary success of this or 
that party or faction was as nothing com- 
pared with the duty of settling definitely 


A Field Night in ike House of Commons. [December, 

and for all posterity this conflict of rights 
between the two Houses. Surveying the 
question from this high vantage-ground, 
what wonder that in dignity and gran- 
deur he towered above his fellows ? Here 
was a great mind grappling with a great 
subject, — a mind above temporary ex- 
pedients for present success, superior to 
the fear of possible defeat. To denounce 
the Conservatives for not attacking the 
Ministerial resolutions may have been in- 
discreet. He may have been guilty of 
an apparent breach of Parliamentary eti- 
quette, when he practically condemned 
the passive policy of the Cabinet, of which 
he was himself a leading member. But 
may we not pardon the natural irritation 
produced by the defeat of his favorite 
measure, in view of the noble and patriot- 
ic sentiments of his closing sentences ? 

" I regard the whole rights of the House 
of Commons, as they have been handed 
down to us, as constituting a sacred in- 
heritance, upon which I, for my part, will 
never voluntarily permit any intrusion or 
plunder to be made. I think that the 
very first of our duties, anterior to the 
duty of dealing with any legislative meas- 
ure, and higher and more sacred than 
any such duties, high and sacred though 
they may be, is to maintain intact that 
precious deposit." 

The eifect of this speech was indescrib- 
able. The applause with which he was 
frequently interrupted, and which greet- 
ed him as he took his seat, was such as 
I have never heard in a deliberative as- 
sembly. And not the least striking feat- 
ure of this display of enthusiasm was that 
it mainly proceeded from the extreme 
Liberal wing of the Ministerial party, with 
which Mr. Gladstone, representing that 
most conservative of all English constitu- 
encies, Oxford University, had hitherto 
been by no means popular. For several 
days the rumor was rife that the Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer would resign his 
place in the Cabinet, and be the leader 
of the Radicals ! But Mr. Gladstone had 
other views of his duty, and probably he 
was never more firmly intrenched in the 
confidence of the nation, and more influ- 

ential in the councils of the Government, 
than he is at this moment. 

Mr. Gladstone had hardly taken his 
seat, when the long and significant si- 
lence of the Opposition was broken by 
Mr. Whiteside. This gentleman repre- 
sents Dublin University, has been Attor- 
ney-General and Solicitor- General for 
Ireland, and was one of the most able 
and eloquent defenders of O'Connell and 
his friends in 1842. He is said to be the 
only Irishman in public life who holds the 
traditions of the great Irish orators, — the 
Grattans, the Currans, and the Sheri- 
dans. I will not detain my readers with 
even a brief sketch of his speech. It was 
very severe upon Mr. Gladstone, very 
funny at the expense of the Radicals, 
and very complimentary to Lord Palmer- 
ston. As a whole, it was an admirable 
specimen of Irish oratory. In the elan 
with which the speaker leaped to his feet 
and dashed at once into his subject, full 
of spirit and eager for the fray, in his 
fierce and vehement invective and the 
occasional ferocity of his attacks, in the 
fluency and fitness of his language and 
the rapidity of his utterance, in the un- 
studied grace and sustained energy of his 
manner, it was easy to recognize the ele- 
ments of that irresistible eloquence by 
which so many of his gifted countrymen 
have achieved such brilliant triumphs at 
the forum and in the halls of the debate. 

It might perhaps heighten the eflTect of 
the picture, if I were to describe the ap- 
pearance of Mr. Gladstone during the de- 
livery of this fierce Philippic, — the con- 
tracted brow, the compressed lip, the un- 
easy motion from side to side, and all the 
other customary manifestations of anger, 
mortification, and conscious defeat. But 
if my sketch be dull, it shall at least have 
the homely merit of being truthful. In 
point of fact, the whole harangue was 
lost upon Mr. Gladstone ; for he left the 
House immediately after making his own 
speech, and did not return until some 
time after Mr. Whiteside had finished. 
In all probability he did not know how 
unmercifully he had been handled until 
he read his " Times " the next morning. 


A Field Night in the House of Commons. 


Six more speeches on the Liberal side, 
loud in praise of the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, bitter in denunciation of the 
Conservatives, and by no means sparing 
the policy of the Prime Minister, follow- 
ed in quick succession. They were all 
brief, pertinent, and spirited ; with which 
comprehensive criticism I must dismiss 
them. Their delivery occupied about 
two hours, and many members availed 
themselves of this opportunity to leave 
the House for a while. Some sauntered 
on the broad stone terrace which lines 
the Thames. Not a few regaled them- 
selves with the popular Parliamentary 
beverage, — sherry and soda-water; and 
others, who had resolutely kept their 
seats since the opening of the debate, 
rewarded their devotion to the interests 
of the public by a more elaborate re- 
past. Now and then a member in full 
evening dress would lounge into the 
House, with that air of perfect self-sat- 
isfaction which tells of a good dinner 
by no means conducted on total -absti- 
nence principles. 

It was midnight when Mr. Disraeli 
rose to address the House. For years 
the pencil of " Punch " has seemed to 
take particular delight in sketching for 
the public amusement the features of this 
well-known novehst, orator, and states- 
man. After making due allowance for 
the conceded license of caricature, we 
must admit that the likeness is in the 
main correct, and any one familiar with 
the pages of " Punch " would recognize 
him at a glance. The impression which 
he leaves on one who studies his features 
and watches his bearing is not agreeable. 
Tall, thin, and quite erect, always dress- 
ed with scrupulous care, distant and re- 
served in manner, his eye dull, his lips 
wearing habitually a half-scornful, half- 
contemptuous expression, one can readi- 
ly believe him to be a man addicted to 
bitter enmities, but incapable of warm 

He had been sitting, as his manner is, 
very quietly during the evening, never 
moving a muscle of his face, save when 
he smiled coldly once or twice at the 

sharp sallies of Whiteside, or spoke, as he 
did very rarely, to some member near 
him. A stranger to his manner would 
have supposed him utterly indifferent to 
what was going on about him. Yet it is 
probable that no member of the House 
was more thoroughly absorbed in the de- 
bate or watched its progress with deeper 
interest. Excepting his political ambition, 
Mr. Disraeli is actuated by no stronger 
passion than hatred of Mr. Gladstone. 
To have been a warm admirer and pro- 
tege of Sir Robert Peel would have laid 
a sufficient foundation for intense person- 
al dishke. But Mr. Disraeli has other 
and greater grievances to complain of. 
This is not the place to enter at large 
into the history of the political rivalry 
between these eminent men. Enough to 
say, that in the spring of 1852 Mr. Dis- 
raeli realized the dream of his lifelong 
ambition by being appointed Chancellor 
of the Exchequer, in the Ministry of Lord 
Derby. Late in the same year he brought 
forward his Budget, which he defended at 
great length and with all his ability. This 
Budget, and the arguments by which it 
was supported, Mr. Gladstone — who had 
already refused to take the place in the 
Derby Cabinet — attacked in a speech of 
extraordinary power, demolishing one by 
one the positions of his opponent, rebuk- 
ing with dignified severity the license of 
his language, and calling upon the House 
to condemn the man and his measures. 
Such was the effect of this speech that 
the Government was defeated by a decid- 
ed majority. Thus dethroned, Mr. Dis- 
raeli had the additional mortification of 
seeing his victorious opponent seated in 
his vacant chair. For, in the Ministry 
of Lord Aberdeen, which immediately 
succeeded, Mr. Gladstone accepted the 
appointment of Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer. The Budget brought forward 
by the new Minister took by surprise even 
those who had already formed the high- 
est estimate of his capacity; and the 
speech in which he defended and en- 
forced it received the approval of Lord 
John Russell, in the well-known and 
well -merited compliment, that "it con- 


A Field Night in the House of Commons. [December, 

tained the ablest expositions of the true 
principles of finance ever delivered by 
an English statesman." Since that mem- 
orable defeat, Disraeli has lost no oppor- 
tunity of attacking the member for Ox- 
ford University. To weaken his won- 
derful ascendency over the House has 
seemed to be the wish nearest his heart, 
and the signal failure which has thus 
far attended all his efforts only gives a 
keener edge to his sarcasm and increases 
the bitterness of his spirit. That persis- 
tent and inflexible determination which, 
from a fashionable novelist, has raised 
him to the dignity of leader of the Con- 
servative party in the House of Com- 
mons, that unsparing and cold-blooded 
malignity which poisoned the last days of 
Sir Robert Peel, and those powers of 
wit and ridicule which make him so for- 
midable an adversary, have all been im- 
pressed into this service. 

His speech this evening was only a 
further illustration of his controlling de- 
sire to enjoy an ample and adequate re- 
venge for past defeats ; and, undoubted- 
ly, Mr. Disraeli displayed a great deal 
of a certain kind of power. He was 
witty, pungent, caustic, full of telling 
hits which repeatedly convulsed the House 
with laughter, and he showed singular 
dexterity in discovering and assailing 
the weak points in his adversary's argu- 
ment. Still, it was a painful exhibition, 
bad in temper, tone, and manner. It 
was too plainly the attempt of an unscru- 
pulous partisan to damage a personal en- 
emy, rather than the effort of a states- 
man to enlighten and convince the House 
and the nation. It was unfair, uncandid, 
and logically weak. Its only possible 
effect was to irritate the Liberals, with- 
out materially strengthening the position 
of the Conservatives. When "Dizzy** 
had finished, the floor was claimed by 
Lord John Russell and Mr. Bright. It 
was sufficiently evident that members, 
without distinction of party, desired to 
hear the last-named gentleman, for cries 

of " Bright," " Bright," came from all 
parts of the House. The member for 
Birmingham is stout, bluff, and hearty, 
looking very much like a prosperous, well- 
dressed English yeoman. He is ac- 
knowledged to be the best declaimer in 
the House. Piquant, racy, and enter- 
taining, he is always listened to with in- 
terest and pleasure ; but somehow he la- 
bors under the prevalent suspicion of be- 
ing insincere, and beyond a small circle 
of devoted admirers has no influence 
whatever in Parliament. 

To the manifest discontent of the 
House, the Speaker decided that the 
Honorable Secretary for Foreign Affairs 
was entitled to the floor. Lord John 
Russell deserves a more extended his- 
torical and personal notice than the le- 
gitimate limits of this article will allow. 
But, as his recent elevation to the peer- 
age has led the English press to give a 
review of his political antecedents, and 
as these articles have been copied quite 
generally into our own leading newspa- 
pers, it may be fairly presumed that most 
of my readers are familiar with the prom- 
inent incidents in his long and honorable 
public career. As a speaker he is decid- 
edly prosy, with a hesitating utterance, a 
monotonous voice, and an uninteresting 
manner. Yet he is always heard with 
respectful attention by the House, in 
consideration of his valuable public ser- 
vices, his intrinsic good sense, and his 
unselfish patriotism. On the question at 
issue, he took ground midway between 
Lord Palmerston and Mr. Gladstone. 

It was now about two, A. m. Since 
the commencement of the debate eigh- 
teen members had addressed the House. 
At this point a motion prevailed to ad- 
journ until noon of the same day. 

On the reopening of the debate at that 
hour, Mr. Bright and a few other mem- 
bers gave their views upon the resolutions 
of the Premier, and the final vote was 
then taken with the result already indi- 

1861.] A Legend of the Lake, 679 


Should you go to Centre-Harbor, 
As haply you some time may, 

Sailing up the Winnipisauke, 
From the hills of Alton Bay, — 

Into the heart of the highlands, 

Into the north-wind free, 
Through the rising and vanishing islands, 

Over the mountain sea, — 

To the little hamlet lying 

White in its mountain-fold. 
Asleep by the lake, and dreaming 

A dream that is never told, — 

And in the Red Hill's shadow 
Your pilgrim home you make, 

Where the chambers open to sunrise. 
The mountains and the lake, — 

If the pleasant picture wearies. 
As the fairest sometimes will, 

And the weight of the hills lies on you, 
And the water is all too still, — 

If in vain the peaks of Gunstock 

Redden with sunrise fire. 
And the sky and the purple mountains 

And the sunset islands tire, — 

If you turn from the in-door thrumming 
And clatter of bowls without. 

And the folly that goes on its travels 
Bearing the city about, — 

And the cares you left behind you 
Come hunting along your track, 

As Blue-Cap in German fable 
Rode on the traveller's pack, — 

Let me tell you a tender story 
Of one who is now no more, 

A tale to haunt like a spirit 
The Winnipisauke shore, — 

Of one who was brave and gentle, 
And strong for manly strife, 

680 A Legend of the Lake. [December, 

Riding -vvitli cheering and music 
Into the tourney of life. 

Faltering and falling midway 

In the Tempter's subtle snare, 
The chains of an evil habit 

He bowed himself to bear. 

Over his fresh, young manhood 

The bestial veil was flung, — 
The curse of the wine of Circe, 

The spell her weavers sung. 

Yearly did hill- and lake-side 

Their summer idyls frame ; 
Alone in his darkened dwelling, 

He hid his face for shame. 

The music of life's great marches 

Sounded for him in vain ; 
The voices of human duty 

Smote on his ear like pain. 

In vain over island and water 

The curtains of sunset swung ; 
In vain on the beautiful mountains 

The pictures of God were hung. 

The wretched years crept onward, 

Each sadder than the last ; 
All the bloom of life fell from him, 

All the freshness and greenness passed. 

But deep in his heart forever 

And unprofaned he kept 
The love of his saintly Mother, 

Who in the grave-yard slept. 

His house had no pleasant pictures ; 

Its comfortless walls were bare ; 
But the riches of earth and ocean 

Could not purchase his Mother's Chair, — 

The old chair, quaintly carven, 

With oaken arms outspread, 
Whereby, in the long gone twilights, 

His childish prayers were said. 

For thence, in his lone night-watches, 

By moon or starlight dim, 
A face full of love and pity 

And tenderness looked on him. 

1861.] A Legend of the Lake, 681 

And oft, as the grieving presence 

Sat in his mother's chair, 
The groan of his self-upbraiding 

Grew into wordless prayer. 

At last, in the moonless midnight, 

The summoning angel came, 
Severe in his pity, touching 

The house with fingers of flame. 

The red light flashed from its windows 

And flared from its sinking roof ; 
And baffled and awed before it. 

The villagers stood aloof. 

They shrank from the falling rafters. 

They turned from the furnace-glare ; 
But its tenant cried, " God help me ! 

I must save my mother's chair." 

Under the blazing portal, 

Over the floor of fire, 
He seemed, in the terrible splendor, 

A martyr on his pyre I 

In his face the mad flames smote him 

And stung him on either side ; 
But he clung to the sacred relic, — 

By his mother's chair he died ! 

O mother, with human yearnings ! 

O saint, by the altar-stairs ! 
Shall not the dear God give thee 

The child of thy many prayers ? 

O Christ ! by whom the loving. 

Though erring, are forgiven, 
Hast Thou for him no refuge, 

No quiet place in heaven ? 

Give palms to Thy strong martyrs, 

And crown Thy saints with gold, 
But let the mother welcome 

Her lost one to Thy fold ! 

VOL. vni. 44 


Agnes of Sorrento. 




The good Father Antonio returned 
from his conference with the cavalier 
with many subjects for grave pondering. 
This man, as he conjectured, so far from 
being an enemy either of Church or 
State, was in fact in many respects in 
the same position with his revered mas- 
ter, — as nearly so as the position of a 
layman was likely to resemble that of an 
ecclesiastic. His denial of the Visible 
Church, as represented by the Pope and 
Cardinals, sprang not from an irreverent, 
but from a reverent spirit. To accept them 
as exponents of Christ and Christianity 
was to blaspheme and traduce both, and 
therefore he only could be counted in 
the highest degree Christian who stood 
most completely opposed to them in spirit 
and practice. 

His kind and fatherly heart was inter- 
ested in the brave young nobleman. He 
sympathized fully with the situation in 
which he stood, and he even wished suc- 
cess to his love ; but then how was he to 
help him with Agnes, and above all with 
her old grandmother, without entering on 
the awful task of condemning and expos- 
ing that sacred authority which all the 
Church had so many years been taught 
to regard as infallibly inspired? Long 
had all the truly spiritual members of the 
Church who gave ear to the teachings of 
Savonarola felt that the nearer they fol- 
lowed Christ the more open was their 
growing antagonism to the Pope and the 
Cardinals ; but still they hung back from 
the responsibility of inviting the people 
to an open revolt. 

Father Antonio felt his soul deeply 
stirred with the news of the excommuni- 
cation of his saintly master ; and he mar- 
velled, as he tossed on his restless bed 
through the night, how he was to meet 
the storm. He might have known, had 
he been able to look into a crowded as- 

sembly in Florence about this time, when 
the unterrified monk thus met the news 
of his excommunication : — 

" There have come decrees from Rome, 
have there ? They call me a son of per- 
dition. Well, thus may you answer : — 
He to whom you give this name hath nei- 
ther favorites nor concubines, but gives 
himself solely to preaching Christ. His 
spiritual sons and daughters, those who 
listen to his doctrine, do not pass their 
time in infamous practices. They con- 
fess, they receive the communion, they 
live honestly. This man gives himself 
up to exalt the Church of Christ: you 
to destroy it. The time approaches for 
opening the secret chamber : we will 
give but one turn of the key, and there 
will come out thence such an infection, 
such a stench of this city of Rome, that 
the odor shall spread through all Chris- 
tendom, and all the world shall be sick- 

But Father Antonio was of himself 
wholly unable to come to such a cour- 
ageous result, though capable of follow- 
ing to the death the master who should 
do it for him. His was the true artist 
nature, as unfit to deal with rough hu- 
man forces as a bird that flies through 
the air is unfitted to a hand-to-hand 
grapple with the armed forces of the 
lower world. There is strength in these 
artist natures. Curious computations have 
been made of the immense muscular pow- 
er that is brought into exercise when a 
swallow skims so smoothly through the 
blue sky ; but the strength is of a kind 
unadapted to mundane uses, and needs 
the ether for its display. Father Anto- 
nio could create the beautiful ; he could 
warm, could elevate, could comfort ; and 
when a stronger nature went before him, 
he could follow with an unquestioning 
tenderness of devotion: but he wanted 
the sharp, downright power of mind that 
could cut and cleave its way through the 
rubbish of the past, when its institutions, 


Agnes of Sorrento. 


come to be a loathsome prison. Besides, 
the true artist has ever an enchanted isl- 
and of his own ; and when this world per- 
plexes and wearies him, he can sail far 
away and lay his soul down to rest, as 
Cytherea bore the sleeping Ascanius far 
from the din of battle, to sleep on flowers 
and breathe the odor of a hundred undy- 
ing altars to Beauty. 

Therefore, after a restless night, the 
good monk arose in the first purple of 
the dawn, and instinctively betook him to 
a review of his drawings for the shrine, 
as a refuge from troubled thought. He 
took his sketch of the Madonna and Child 
into the morning twilight and began med- 
itating thereon, while the clouds that 
lined the horizon were glowing rosy 
purple and violet with the approaching 

" See there ! " he said to himself, " yon- 
der clouds have exactly the rosy purple 
of the cyclamen which my little Agnes 
loves so much ; — yes, I am resolved that 
this cloud on which our Mother standeth 
shall be of a cyclamen color. And there 
is that star, like as it looked yesterday 
evening, when I mused upon it. Me- 
thought I could see our Lady's clear 
brow, and the radiance of her face, and 
I prayed that some little power might 
be given to show forth that which trans- 
ports me." 

And as the monk plied his pencil, 
touching here and there, and elaborating 
the outlines of his drawing, he sang, — 

" Ave, Maris Stella, 
Dei mater alma, 
Atque semper virgo, 
Felix coeli porta ! 

" Virgo singularis, 
Inter omnes mitis, 
Nos culpis solutos 
Mites fac et castes ! 

" Vitam praesta puram. 
Iter para tutum, 
Ut videntes Jesum 
Semper coUaetemur! " * 

* Hail, thou Star of Ocean, 
Thou forever virgin, 
Mother of the Lord ! 

As the monk sang, Agnes soon ap- 
peared at the door. 

" Ah, my little bird, you are there ! '* 
he said, looking up. 

" Yes," said Agnes, coming forward, 
and looking over his shoulder at his ,j 

" Did you find that young sculptor ? " 
she asked. 

" That I did, — a brave boy, too, who 
will row down the coast and dig us mar- 
ble from an old heathen temple, which 
we will baptize into the name of Christ 
and his Mother." 

" Pietro was always a good boy," said 

" Stay," said the monk, stepping into 
his little sleeping-room ; " he sent you 
this lily ; see, I havd kept it in water all 

" Poor Pietro, that was good of him I " 
said Agnes. " I would thank him, if I 
could. But, uncle," she added, in a hesi- 
tating voice, " did you see anything of 
that — other one ? " 

"That I did, child, — and talked long 
with him." 

" Ah, uncle, is there any hope for 
him ? " 

"Yes, there is hope, — great hope. 
In fact, he has promised to receive me 
again, and I have hopes of leading him 
to the sacrament of confession, and after' 

" And then the Pope will forgive him 1 " 
said Agnes, joyfully. 

The face of the monk suddenly fell ; 
he was silent, and went on retouching 
his drawing. 

" Do you not think he will ? " said Ag- 
nes, earnestly. " You said the Church 

Blessed gate of Heaven, 
Take our heart's devotion! 

Virgin one and only. 
Meekest 'mid them all, 
From our sins set free, 
Make us pure like thee, 
Freed from passion's thrall ! 

Grant that in pure living. 
Through safe paths below, 
Forever seeing Jesus, 
Rejoicing we may go! 


Agnes of SoiTento. 


was ever ready to receive the repent- 

" The True Church will receive him," 
said the monk, evasively ; " yes, my little 
one, there is no doubt of it." 

" And it is not true that he is captain 
of a band of robbers in the mountains ? " 
said Agnes. " May I tell Father Fran- 
cesco that it is not so ? " 

" Child, this young man hath suffered 
a grievous wrong and injustice ; for he 
is lord of an ancient and noble estate, 
out of which he hath been driven by the 
cruel injustice of a most wicked and 
abominable man, the Duke di Valenti- 
nos,* who hath caused the death of his 
brothers and sisters, and ravaged the 
country around with fire and sword, so 
that he hath been driven with his retain- 
ers to a fortress in the mountains." 

" But," said Agnes, with flushed cheeks, 
" why does not our blessed Father ex- 
communicate this wicked duke ? Surely 
this knight hath erred ; instead of taking 
refuge in the mountains, he ought to 
have fled with his followers to Rome, 
where the dear Father of the Church 
hath a house for all the oppressed. It 
must be so lovely to be the father of all 
men, and to take in and comfort all those 
who are distressed and sorrowful, and 
to right the wrongs of all that are op- 
pressed, as our dear Father at Rome 

The monk looked up at Agnes's clear 
glowing face with a sort of wondering 

" Dear little child," he said, " there is 
a Jerusalem above which is mother of 
us all, and these things are done there. 

* Ccelestis urbs Jerusalem, 
Beata pacis visio, 
Quae celsa de viventibus 
Saxis ad astra tolleris, 
Sponsaeque ritu cingeris 
Mille angelorum millibus! ' " 

The face of the monk glowed as he re- 
peated this ancient hymn of the Church, f 

* Caesar Borgia was created Due de Valen- 
tinois by Louis XII. of France. 

t This very ancient hymn is the fountain- 
head from which through various languages 

as if the remembrance of that general as- 
sembly and church of the first-born gave 
him comfort in his depression. 

Agnes felt perplexed, and looked ear- 
nestly at her uncle as he stooped over his 
drawing, and saw that there were deep 
lines of anxiety on his usually clear, pla- 
cid face, — a look as of one who strug- 
gles mentally with some untold trouble. 

" Uncle," she said, hesitatingly, " may 
I tell Father Francesco what you have 
been telling me of this young man ? " 

"No, my little one, — it were not best. 
In fact, dear child, there be many things 
in his case impossible to explain, even to 
you ; — but he is not so altogether hope- 
less as you thought ; in truth, I have great 
hopes of him. I have admonished him 
to come here no more, but I shall see 
him again this evening." 

Agnes wondered at the heaviness of 
her own Httle heart, as her kind old un- 
cle spoke of his coming there no more. 
Awhile ago she dreaded his visits as a 
most fearful temptation, and thought per- 
haps he might come at any hour ; now 
she was sure he would not, and it was as- 
tonishing what a weight fell upon her. 

" Why am I not thankful ? " she asked 
herself. " Why am I not joyful ? Why 
should I wish to see him again, when I 
should only be tempted to sinful thoughts, 
and when my dear uncle, who can do so 
much for him, has his soul in charge ? 
And what is this which is so strange in 
his case ? There is some mystery, after 
all, — something, perhaps, which I ought 
not to wish to know. Ah, how little can 
we know of this great wicked world, and 
of the reasons which our superiors give 
for their conduct ! It is ours humbly to 
obey, without a question or a doubt. Ho- 
ly Mother, may I not sin through a vain 
curiosity or self-will ! May I ever say, as 
thou didst, ' Behold the handmaid of the 
Lord ! be it unto me according to His 

have trickled the various hymns of the Celes- 
tial City, such as — 

" Jerusalem, my happy home ! " 
and Quarles's — 

" mother dear, Jerusalem ! " 


Agnes of Sorrento. 


And Agnes went about her morning 
devotions with fervent zeal, and did not 
see the monk as he dropped the pencil, 
and, covering his face with his robe, seem- 
ed to wrestle in some agony of prayer. 

" Shepherd of Israel," he said, " why 
hast Thou forgotten this vine of Thy plant- 
ing? The boar out of the wood doth 
•waste it, the wild beast of the field doth 
devour it. Dogs have encompassed Thy 
beloved ; the assembly of the violent have 
surrounded him. How long, O Lord, 
holy and true, dost Thou not judge and 
avenge ? " 

" Now, really, brother," said Elsie, com- 
ing towards him, and interrupting his med- 
itations in her bustling, business way, 
yet speaking in a low tone that Agnes 
should not hear, — " I want you to help me 
with this child in a good common-sense 
fashion : none of your high-flying notions 
about saints and angels, but a little good 
common talk for every-day people that 
have their bread and salt to look after. 
The fact is, brother, this girl must be 
married. I went last night to talk with 
Antonio's mother, and the way is all open 
as well as any living girl could desire. 
Antonio is a trifle slow, and the high- 
flying hussies call him stupid ; but his 
mother says a better son never breathed, 
and he is as obedient to all her orders 
now as when he was three years old. 
And she has laid up plenty of household 
stufi* for him, and good hard gold pieces 
to boot : she let me count them my- 
self, and I showed her that which I had 
scraped together, and she counted it, and 
we agreed that the children that come 
of such a marriage would come into the 
world with something to stand on. Now 
Agnes is fond of you, brother, and per- 
haps it would be well for you to broach 
the subject. The fact is, when I begin 
to talk, she gets her arms round my old 
neck and falls to weeping and kissing me 
at such a rate as makes a fool of me. If 
the child would only be rebellious, one 
could do something; but this love takes 
all the stifi'ness out of one's joints ; and 
she tells me she never wants a husband, 
and she will be content to live with me 

all her life. The saints know it is n't for 
my happiness to put her out of my old 
arms ; but I can't last forever, — my old 
back grows weaker every year ; and 
Antonio has strong arms to defend her 
from all these roystering fellows who 
fear neither God nor man, and swoop up 
young maids as kites do chickens. And 
then he is as gentle and manageable as 
a this-year ox ; Agnes can lead him by 
the horn, — she will be a perfect queen 
over him ; for he has been brought up to 
mind the women." 

"Well, sister," said the monk, "hath 
our little maid any acquaintance with 
this man ? Have they ever spoken to- 
gether ? " 

"Not much. I have never brought 
them to a very close acquaintance ; and 
that is what is to be done. Antonio is 
not much of a talker ; to tell the truth, 
he does not know as much to say as our 
Agnes : but the man's place is not to say 
fine things, but to do the hard work that 
shall support the household." 

" Then Agnes hath not even seen 
him ? " 

" Yes, at different times I have bid her 
regard him, and said to her, ' There goes 
a proper man and a good Christian, — a 
man who minds his work and is obedient 
to his old mother : such a man wUl make 
a right good husband for some girl some 
day.' " 

" And did you ever see that her eye 
followed him with pleasure ? " 

" No, neither him nor any other man, 
for my little Agnes hath no thought of 
that kind ; but, once married, she will 
like him fast enough. All I want is to 
have you begin the subject, and get it 
into her head a little." 

Father Antonio was puzzled how to 
meet this direct urgency of his sister. 
He could not explain to her his own pri- 
vate reasons for believing that any such 
attempt would be utterly vain, and only 
bring needless distress on his little favor* 
ite. He therefore answered, — 

" My good sister, all such thoughts lie 
so far out of the sphere of us monks, that 
you could not choose a worse person for 


Agnes of Sorrento, 


such an errand. I have never had any 
communings with the child than touch- 
ing the beautiful things of my art, and 
concerning hymns and prayers and the 
lovely world of saints and angels, where 
they neither marry nor are given in mar- 
riage ; and so I should only spoil your en- 
terprise, if I should put my unskilful hand 
to it." 

" At any rate," said Elsie, " don't you 
approve of my plan ? " 

" I should approve of anything that 
would make our dear little one safe and 
happy, but I would not force the matter 
against her inclinations. You will always 
regret it, if you make so good a child shed 
one needless tear. After all, sister, what 
need of haste ? 'T is a young bird yet. 
Why push it out of the nest ? When 
once it is gone, you will never get it 
back. Let the pretty one have her lit- 
tle day to play and sing and be happy. 
Does she not make this garden a sort 
of Paradise with her little ways and her 
sweet words ? Now, my sister, these all 
belong to you ; but, once she is given to 
another, there is no saying what may 
come. One thing only may you count 
on with certainty : that these dear days, 
when she is all day by your side and 
sleeps in your bosom all night, are over, — 
she will belong to you no more, but to a 
strange man who hath neither toiled nor 
wrought for her, and all her pretty ways 
and dutiful thoughts must be for him." 

" I know it, I know it," said Elsie, 
with a sudden wrench of that jealous love 
which is ever natural to strong, passion- 
ate natures. " I 'm sure it is n't for my 
own sake I urge this. I grudge him the 
girl. After all, he is but a stupid head. 
What has he ever done, that such good- 
fortune should befall him ? He ought to 
fall down and kiss the dust of my shoes 
for such a gift, and I doubt me much if 
he will ever think to do it. These men 
think nothing too good for them. I be- 
lieve, if one of the crowned saints in 
heaven were offered them to wife, they 
would think it all quite natural, and not 
a whit less than their requirings." 

" Well, then, sister," said the monk. 

soothingly, " why press this matter ? why 
hurry ? The poor little child is young ; 
let her frisk like a lamb, and dance like 
a butterfly, and sing her hymns every 
day like a bright bird. Surely the Apos- 
tle saith, *He that giveth his maid in mar- 
riage doeth well, but he that giveth her 
not doeth better.' " 

" But I have opened the subject al- 
ready to old Meta," said Elsie ; " and if 
I don't pursue it, she will take it into 
her head that her son is lightly regarded, 
and then her back will be up, and one 
may lose the chance ; and on the whole, 
considering the money and the fellow, 
I don't know a safer way to settle the 

" Well, sister, as I have remarked," 
said the monk, " I could not order my 
speech to propose anything of this kind 
to a young maid ; I should so bungle that 
I might spoil all. You must even pro- 
pose it yourself." 

"I would not have undertaken it,** 
said Elsie, " had I not been frightened 
by that hook-nosed old kite of a cava- 
lier that has been sailing and perching 
round. We are two lone women here, 
and the times are unsettled, and one 
never knows, that hath so fair a prize, 
but she may be carried off, and then 
no redress from any quarter." 

" You might lodge her in the con- 
vent," said the monk. 

" Yes, and then, the first thing I should 
know, they would have got her away from 
me entirely. I have been well pleased 
to have her much with the sisters hither- 
to, because it kept her from hearing the 
foolish talk of girls and gallants, — and 
such a flower would have had every wasp 
and bee buzzing round it. But now the 
time is coming to marry her, I much doubt 
these nuns. There 's old Jocunda is a 
sensible woman, who knew something of 
the world before she went there, — but 
the Mother Theresa knows no more than 
a baby ; and they would take her in, and 
make her as white and as thin as that 
moon yonder now the sun has risen ; and 
little good should I have of her, for I 
have no vocation for the convent, — it 


Agnes of Sorrento. 


Would kill me in a week. No, — she has 
seen enough of the convent for the pres- 
ent. I will even take the risk of watch- 
ing her myself. Little has this gallant 
seen of her, though he has tried hard 
enough ! But to-day I may venture to 
take her down with me." 

Father Antonio felt a little conscience- 
smitten in listening to these triumphant 
assertions of old Elsie ; for he knew that 
she would pour all her vials of wrath on 
his head, did she know, that, owing to his 
absence from his little charge, the dread- 
ed invader had managed to have two 
interviews with her grandchild, on the 
very spot that Elsie deemed the fortress 
of security ; but he wisely kept his own 
counsel, believing in the eternal value 
of silence. In truth, the gentle monk 
lived so much in the unreal and celestial 
world of Beauty, that he was by no means 
a skilful guide for the passes of common 
life. Love, other than that ethereal kind 
which aspires towards Paradise, was a 
stranger to his thoughts, and he con- 
stantly erred in attributing to other peo- 
ple natures and purposes as unworldly 
and spiritual as his own. Thus had he 
fallen, in his utter simplicity, into the 
attitude of a go-between protecting the 
advances of a young lover with the shad- 
ow of his monk's gown, and he became 
awkwardly conscious, that, if Elsie should 
find out the whole truth, there would be 
no possibility of convincing her that what 
had been done in such sacred simplicity 
on all sides was not the basest manoeuv- 

Elsie took Agnes down with her to the 
old stand in the gateway of the town. On 
their way, as had probably been arran- 
ged, Antonio met them. We may have 
introduced him to the reader before, who 
likely enough has forgotten by this time 
our portraiture ; so we shall say again, 
that the man was past thirty, tall, straight, 
well-made, even to the tapering of his 
well -formed limbs, as are the generali- 
ty of the peasantry of that favored re- 
gion. His teeth were white as sea-pearl ; 
his cheek, though swarthy, had a deep, 
healthy flush ; and his great velvet black 

eyes looked straight out from under their 
long silky lashes, just as do the eyes of 
the beautiful oxen of his country, with 
a languid, changeless tranquillity, betok- 
ening a good digestion, and a well-fed, 
kindly animal nature. He was evidently 
a creature that had been nourished on 
sweet juices and developed in fair pas- 
tures, under genial influences of sun and 
weather, — one that would draw patiently 
in harness, if required, without troubling 
his handsome head how he came there, 
and, his labor being done, would stretch 
his healthy body to rumination, and rest 
with serene, even unreflecting quietude. 

He had been duly lectured by his 
mother, this morning, on the propriety 
of commencing his wooing, and was com- 
ing towards them with a bouquet in his 

" See there," said Elsie, — " there is our 
young neighbor Antonio coming towards 
us. There is a youth whom I am willing 
you should speak to, — none of your ruf- 
fling gallants, but steady as an ox at his 
work, and as kind at the crib. Happy 
will the girl be that gets him for a hus- 
band ! " 

Agnes was somewhat troubled and sad- 
dened this morning, and absorbed in cares 
quite new to her life before ; but her na- 
ture was ever kindly and social, and it 
had been laid under so many restrictions 
by her grandmother's close method of 
bringing up, that it was always ready to 
rebound in favor of anybody to whom she 
allowed her to show kindness. So, when 
the young man stopped and shyly reach- 
ed forth to her a knot of scarlet poppies 
intermingled with bright vetches and wild 
blue larkspurs, she took it gi'aciously, and, 
frankly beaming a smile into his face, 
said, — 

" Thank you, my good Antonio ! " Then 
fastening them in the front of her bodice, 
— " There, they are beautiful ! " she said, 
looking up with the simple satisfaction of 
a child. 

" They are not half so beautiful as you 
are," said the young peasant; "every- 
body likes you." 

" You are very kind, I am sure," said 


Agnes of Sorrento, 


Agnes. "I like everybody, as far as 
grandmamma thinks it best." 

" I am glad of that," said Antonio, 
" because then I hope you will like me." 

" Oh, yes, certainly, I do ; grandmam- 
ma says you are very good, and I like 
all good people." 

" Well, then, pretty Agnes," said the 
young man, " let me carry your basket." 

" Oh, you don't need to; it does not 
tire me." 

" But I should like to do something for 
you," insisted the young man, blushing 

"Well, you may, then," said Agnes, 
who began to wonder at the length of 
time her grandmother allowed this con- 
versation to go on without interrupting it, 
as she generally had done when a young 
man was in the case. Quite to her aston- 
ishment, her venerable relative, instead 
of sticking as close to her as her shadow, 
was walking forward very fast without 
looking behind. 

" Now, Holy Mother," said that excel- 
lent matron, "do help this young man 
to bring this affair out straight, and give 
an old woman, who has had a world of 
troubles, a little peace in her old age ! " 

Agnes found herself, therefore, quite 
unusually situated, alone in the company 
of a handsome young man, and apparent- 
ly with the consent of her grandmother. 
Some girls might have felt emotions of 
embarrassment, or even alarm, at this new 
situation ; but the sacred loneliness and 
seclusion in which Agnes had been edu- 
cated had given her a confiding fearless- 
ness, such as voyagers have found in the 
birds of bright foreign islands which have 
never been invaded by man. She look- 
ed up at Antonio with a pleased, admir- 
ing smile, — much such as she would have 
given, if a great handsome stag, or other 
sylvan companion, had stepped from the 
forest and looked a friendship at her 
through his large liquid eyes. She seem- 
ed, in an innocent, frank way, to like to 
have him walking by her, and thought 
him very good to carry her basket, — 
though, as she told him, he need not do 
it, it did not tire her in the least. 

" Nor does it tire me, pretty Agnes," 
said he, with an embarrassed laugh. " See 
what a great fellow I am, — how strong I 
Look, — I can bend an iron bar in my 
hands ! I am as strong as an ox, — and I 
should like always to use my strength for 

" Should you ? How very kind of you I 
It is very Christian to use one's strength 
for others, like the good Saint Christo- 

" But I would use my strength for you 
because — I love you, gentle Agnes ! " 

" That is right, too," replied Agnes. 
" We must all love one another, my good 

" You must know what I mean," said 
the young man. "I mean that I want 
to marry you." 

" I am sorry for that, Antonio," replied 
Agnes, gravely ; " because I do not want 
to marry you. I am never going to mar- 
ry anybody." 

" Ah, girls always talk so, my moth- 
er told me ; but nobody ever heard of a 
girl that did not want a husband ; that is 
impossible," said Antonio, with simplici- 
ty- . ■ . 

" I believe girls generally do, Antonio ; 

but I do not : my desire is to go to the 

" To the convent, pretty Agnes ? Of 
all things, what should you want to go to 
the convent for? You never had any 
trouble. You are young, and handsome, 
and healthy, and almost any of the fel- 
lows would think himself fortunate to get 

" I would go there to hve for God and 
pray for souls," said Agnes. 

" But your grandmother will never let 
you ; she means you shall marry me. I 
heard her and my mother talking about 
it last night; and my mother bade me 
come on, for she said it was all settled." 

" I never heard anything of it," said 
Agnes, now for the first time feeling 
troubled. " But, my good Antonio, if you 
really do like me and wish me well, you 
will not want to distress me ? " 

" Certainly not." 

« Well, it will distress me very, very 


Agnes of Sorrento. 


much, if you persist in wanting to marry 
me, and if you say any more on the sub- 

" Is that really so ? " said Antonio, fix- 
ing his great velvet eyes with an honest 
stare on Agnes. 

" Yes, it is so, Antonio ; you may rely 
upon it." 

" But look here, Agnes, are you quite 
sure ? Mother says girls do not always 
know their mind." 

" But I know mine, Antonio. Now you 
really will distress and trouble me very 
much, if you say anything more of this 

" I declare, I am sorry for it," said the 
young man. "Look ye, Agnes, — I did 
not care half as much about it this morn- 
ing as I do now. Mother has been say- 
ing this great while that I must have a 
wife, that she was getting old ; and this 
morning she told me to speak to you. I 
thought you would be all ready, — indeed 
I did." 

" My good Antonio, there are a great 
many very handsome girls who would be 
glad, I suppose, to marry you. I believe 
other girls do not feel as I do. Giulletta 
used to laugh and tell me so." 

" That Giulletta was a splendid girl," 
said Antonio. " She used to make great 
eyes at me, and try to make me play the 
fool ; but my mother would not hear of 
her. Now she has gone off with a fellow 
to the mountains." 

« Giulietta gone ? " 

" Yes, have n't you heard of it ? She 's 
gone with one of the fellows of that dash- 
ing young robber-captain that has been 
round our town so much lately. All the 
girls are wild after these mountain fel- 
lows. A good, honest boy like me, that 
hammers away at his trade, they think 
nothing of; whereas one of these fellows 
with a feather in his cap has only to 
twinkle his finger at them, and they are 
off like a bird." 

The blood rose in Agnes's cheeks at 
this very unconscious remark; but she 
walked along for some time with a coun- 
tenance of grave reflection. 

They had now gained the street of the 

city, where old Elsie stood at a little dis- 
tance waiting for them. 

" Well, Agnes," said Antonio, " so you 
really are in earnest ? " 

" Certainly I am." 

" Well, then, let us be good friends, at 
any rate," said the young man. 

" Oh, to be sure, I will," said Agnes, 
smiling with all the brightness her lovely 
face was capable of "You are a kind, 
good man, and I like you very much. I 
will always remember you kindly." 

" Well, good-bye, then," said Antonio, 
offering his hand. 

" Good-bye," said Agnes, cheerfully giv- 
ing hers. 

Elsie, beholding the cordiality of this 
parting, comforted herself that all was 
right, and ruffled all her feathers with 
the satisfied pride of a matron whose 
family plans are succeeding. 

" After all," she said to herself, " broth- 
er was right, — best let young folks settle 
these matters themselves. Now see the 
advantage of such an education as I have 
given Agnes ! Instead of being betroth- 
ed to a good, honest, forehanded fellow, 
she might have been losing her poor sil- 
ly heart to some of these lords or gal- 
lants who throw away a girl as one does 
an orange when they have sucked it. 
Who knows what mischief this cavalier 
might have done, if I had not been so 
watchful ? Now let him come prying 
and spying about, she will have a hus- 
band to defend her. A smith's hammer 
is better than an old woman's spindle, 
any day." 

Agnes took her seat with her usual air 
of thoughtful gravity, her mind seeming to 
be intensely preoccupied, and her grand- 
mother, though secretly exulting in the 
supposed cause, resolved not to open the 
subject with her till they were at home 
or alone at night. 

" I have my defence to make to Father 
Francesco, too," she said to herself, " for 
hurrying on this betrothal against his ad- 
vice ; but one must manage a little with 
these priests, — the saints forgive me ! I 
really think sometimes, because they can't 
marry themselves, they would rather see 


Agnes of Sorrento, 


every pretty girl in a convent than with 
a husband. It *s natural enough, too. 
Father Francesco will be like the rest of 
the world : when he can't help a thing, 
he will see the will of the Lord in it." 

Thus prosperously the world seemed 
to go with old Elsie. Meantime, when 
her back was turned, as she was kneeling 
over her basket, sorting out lemons, Agnes 
happened to look up, and there, just un- 
der the arch of the gateway, where she 
had seen him the first time, sat the cava- 
lier on a splendid horse, with a white 
feather streaming backward from his 
black riding-hat and dark curls. 

He bowed low and kissed his hand to 
her, and before she knew it her eyes 
met his, which seemed to flash light and 
sunshine all through her; and then he 
turned his horse and was gone through 
the gate, while she, filled with self-re- 
proach, was taking her little heart to 
task for the instantaneous throb of hap- 
piness which had passed through her 
whole being at that sight. She had not 
turned away her head, nor said a prayer, 
as Father Francesco told her to do, be- 
cause the whole thing had been sudden 
as a flash; but now it was gone, she 
prayed, " My God, help me not to love 
him ! — let me love Thee alone ! " But 
many times in the course of the day, as 
she twisted her flax, she found herself 
wondering whither he could be going. 
Had he really gone to that enchanted 
cloud-land, in the old purple Apennines, 
whither he wanted to carry her, — gone, 
perhaps, never to return? That was 
best. But was he reconciled with the 
Church ? Was that great, splendid soul 
that looked out of those eyes to be for- 
ever lost, or would the pious exhortations 
of her uncle avail ? And then she thought 
he had said to her, that, if she would go 
with him, he would confess and take the 
sacrament, and be reconciled with the 
Church, and so his soul be saved. 

She resolved to tell this to Father 

Francesco. Perhaps he would No, 

— she shivered as she remembered the 
severe, withering look with which the holy 
father had spoken of him, and the awful- 

ness of his manner, — he would never con- 
sent. And then her grandmother 

No, there was no possibility. 

Meanwhile Agnes's good old uncle sat 
in the orange-shaded garden, busily per- 
fecting his sketches; but his mind was 
distracted, and his thoughts wandered, — 
and often he rose, and, leaving his draw- 
ings, would pace up and down the little 
place, absorbed in earnest prayer. The 
thought of his master's position was hour- 
ly growing upon him. The real world 
with its hungry and angry tide was each 
hour washing higher and higher up on 
the airy shore of the ideal, and bearing 
the pearls and enchanted shells of fancy 
out into its salt and muddy waters. 

" Oh, my master, my father ! " he said, 
"is the martyr's crown of fire indeed 
waiting thee ? Will God desert His own ? 
But was not Christ crucified? — and the 
disciple is not above his master, nor the 
servant above his lord. But surely Flor- 
ence will not consent. The whole city 
will make a stand for him; — they are 
ready, if need be, to pluck out their eyes 
and give them to him. Florence will 
certainly be a refuge for him. But why 
do I put confidence in man ? In the 
Lord alone have I righteousness and 

And the old monk raised the psalm, 
^'■Quare fremunt genies" and his voice 
rose and fell through the flowery recesses 
and dripping grottoes of the old gorge, 
sad and earnest like the protest of the 
few and feeble of Christ's own against 
the rushing legions of the world. Yet, 
as he sang, courage and holy hope came 
into his soul from the sacred words, — just 
such courage as they afterwards brought 
to Luther, and to the Puritans in later 

THE monk's departure. 

The three inhabitants of the little 
dovecot were sitting in their garden af- 
ter supper, enjoying the cool freshness. 
The place was perfumed with the smell 
of orange-blossoms, brought out by gen- 


Agnes of Sorrento. 


tie showers that had fallen during the 
latter part of the afternoon, and all three 
felt the tranquillizing effects of the sweet 
evening air. The monk sat bending over 
his drawings, resting the frame on which 
they lay on the mossy garden-wall, so 
as to get the latest advantage of the 
rich golden twilight which now twinkled 
through the sky. Agnes sat by him on 
the same wall, — now glancing over his 
shoulder at his work, and now leaning 
thoughtfully on her elbow, gazing pen- 
sively down into the deep shadows of 
the gorge, or out where the golden light 
of evening streamed under the arches of 
the old Roman bridge, to the wide, bright 
sea beyond. 

Old Elsie bustled about with unusual 
content in the lines of her keen wrinkled 
face. Already her thoughts were run- 
ning on household furnishing and bri- 
dal finery. She unlocked an old chest 
which from its heavy quaint carvings of 
dark wood must have been some relic 
of the fortunes of her better days, and, 
taking out of a little till of the same a 
string of fine silvery pearls, held them 
Tip admiringly to the evening light. 
A splendid pair of pearl ear-rings also 
was produced from the same recepta- 

She sighed at first, as she looked at 
these things, and then smiled with rath- 
er an air of triumph, and, coming to 
"where Agnes reclined on the wall, held 
them up playfully before her. 

" See here, little one ! " she said. 

" Oh, what pretty things ! — where did 
they come from ? " said Agnes, innocent- 

" Where did they ? Sure enough ! 
Little did you or any one else know 
old Elsie had things like these 1 But 
she meant her little Agnes should hold 
up her head with the best. No girl in 
Sorrento will have such wedding finery 
as this ? " 

" Wedding finery, grandmamma," said 
Agnes, faintly, — " what does that mean ? " 

" What does that mean, sly-boots ? 
Ah, you know well enough ! What were 
you and Antonio talking about all the 

time this morning ? Did he not ask you 
to marry him ? " 

" Yes, grandmamma ; but I told him I 
was not going to marry. You promised 
me, dear grandmother, right here, the 
other night, that I should not marry till 
I was willing ; and I told Antonio I was 
not willing," 

" The girl says but true, sister," said 
the monk ; " you remember you gave her 
your word that she should not be married 
till she gave her consent willingly." 

" But, Agnes, my pretty one, what can 
be the objection ? " said old Elsie, coax- 
ingly. " Where will you find a better- 
made man, or more honest, or more kind ? 
— and he is handsome ; — and you will 
have a home that all the girls will en- 

" Grandmamma, remember, you prom- 
ised me, — you promised me," said Ag- 
nes, looking distressed, and speaking ear- 

" Well, well, child ! but can't I ask a 
civil question, if I did ? What is your 
objection to Antonio ? " 

" Only that I don't want to be mar- 

"Now you know, child," said Elsie, 
" I never will consent to your going to 
a convent. You might as well put a 
knife through my old heart as talk to me 
of that. And if you don't go, you must 
marry somebody ; and who could be bet- 
ter than Antonio ? " 

" Oh, grandmamma, am I not a good 
girl ? What have I done, that you are 
so anxious to get me away from you ? " 
said Agnes. " I like Antonio well enough, 
but I like you ten thousand times better. 
Why cannot we live together just as we 
do now ? I am strong. I can work a 
great deal harder than I do. You ought 
to let me work more, so that you need 
not work so hard and tire yourself, — 
let me carry the heavy basket, and dig 
round the trees." 

" Pooh ! a pretty story ! " said Elsie. 
" We are two lone women, and the times 
are unsettled; there are robbers and 
loose fellows about, and we want a pro- 


Agnes of Sorrento. 


" And is not the good Lord our protec- 
tor? — has He not always kept us, grand- 
mother ? " said Agnes. 

" Oh, that 's well enough to say, but 
folks can't always get along so ; — it 's 
far better trusting the Lord with a good 
strong man about, — like Antonio, for in- 
stance. I should like to see the man that 
•would dare be uncivil to Jiis wife. But 
go your ways, — it 's no use toiling away 
one's life for children, who, after all, won't 
turn their little finger for you." 

" Now, dear grandmother," said Agnes, 
" have I not said I would do everything 
for you, and work hard for you ? Ask me 
to do anything else in the world, grand- 
mamma ; I will do anything to make you 
happy, except marry this man, — that I 

" And that is the only thing I want 
you to do. Well, I suppose I may as 
well lock up these things ; I see my gifts 
are not cared for." 

And the old soul turned and went in 
quite testily, leaving Agnes with a griev- 
ed heart, sitting still by her uncle. 

" Never weep, little one," said the kind 
old monk, when he saw the silent tears 
falling one after another ; " your grand- 
mother loves you, after all, and will come 
out of this, if we are quiet." 

" This is such a beautiful world," said 
Agnes, " who would think it would be 
such a hard one to live in ? — such bat- 
tles and conflicts as people have here ! " 

" You say well, little heart ; but great 
is the glory to be revealed ; so let us have 

" Dear uncle, have you heard any ill- 
tidings of late ? " asked Agnes. " I no- 
es o 

ticed this morning you were cast down, 
and to-night you look so tired and sad." 

"Yes, dear child, — heavy tidings have 
indeed come. My dear master at Flor- 
ence is hard beset by wicked men, and 
in great danger, — in danger, perhaps, of 
falling a martyr to his holy zeal for the 
blessed Jesus and his Church." 

" But cannot our holy father, the Pope, 
protect him ? You should go to Rome 
directly and lay the case before him." 

" It is not always possible to be pro- 

tected by the Pope," said Father Anto- 
nio, evasively. " But I grieve much, dear 
child, that I can be with you no longer. 
I must gird up my loins and set out for 
Florence, to see with my own eyes how 
the battle is going for my holy master." 

" Ah, must I lose you, too, my dear, 
best friend ? " said Agnes. " What shall 
I do ? " 

" Thou hast the same Lord Jesus, and 
the same dear Mother, when I am gone. 
Have faith in God, and cease not to 
pray for His Church, — and for me, too." 

" That I will, dear uncle ! I will pray 
for you more than ever, — for prayer now 
will be all my comfort. But," she add- 
ed, with hesitation, " oh, uncle, you prom- 
ised to visit him I " 

" Never fear, little Agnes, — I will do 
that. I go to him this very night, — now, 
even, — for the daylight waxes too scant 
for me to work longer." 

" But you will come back and stay 
with us to-night, uncle ? " 

" Yes, I will, — but to-morrow morning 
I must be up and away with the birds ; 
and I have labored hard all day to fin- 
ish the drawings for the lad who shall 
carve the shrine, that he may busy him- 
self thereon in my absence." 

" Then you will come back ? " 

" Certainly, dear heart, I will come 
back ; of that be assured. Pray God it 
be before long, too." 

So saying, the good monk drew his 
cowl over his head, and, putting his port- 
folio of drawings under his arm, began 
to wend his way towards the old town. 

Agnes watched him departing, her 
heart in a strange flutter of eagerness 
and solicitude. What were these dread- 
ful troubles which were coming upon her 
good uncle ? — who those enemies of the 
Church that beset that saintly teacher 
he so much looked up to ? And why was 
lawless violence allowed to run such riot 
in Italy, as it had in the case of the 
unfortunate cavalier? As she thought 
things over, she was burning with a re- 
pressed desire to do something herself 
to abate these troubles. 

" I am not a knight," she said to her- 


Agnes of Sorrento. 


self, "and I cannot fight for the good 
cause. I am not a priest, and I cannot 
argue for it. I cannot preach and con- 
vert sinners. What, then, can I do ? I 
can pray. Suppose I should make a pil- 
grimage ? Yes, — that would be a good 
■work, and I will. I will walk to Rome, 
praying at every shrine and holy place; 
and then, when I come to the Holy City, 
whose very dust is made precious with 
the blood of the martyrs and saints, I 
will seek the house of our dear father, 
the Pope, and entreat his forgiveness for 
this poor soul. He will not scorn me, 
for he is in the place of the blessed Jesus, 
and the richest princess and the poorest 
maiden are equal in his sight. Ah, that 
will be beautiful ! Holy Mother," she 
said, falling on her knees before the 
shrine, " here I vow and promise that I 
will go praying to the Holy City. Smile 
on me and help me ! " 

And by the twinkle of the flickering 
lamp which threw its light upon the pic- 
ture, Agnes thought surely the placid face 
brightened to a tender maternal smile, and 
her enthusiastic imagination saw in this 
an omen of success. 

Old Elsie was moody and silent this 
evening, — vexed at the thwarting of her 
schemes. It was the first time that the 
idea had ever gained a foothold in her 
mind, that her docile and tractable 
grandchild could really have for any 
serious length of time a will opposed to 
her own, and she found it even now dif- 
ficult to believe it. Hitherto she had 
shaped her life as easily as she could 
mould a biscuit, and it was all plain sail- 
ing before her. The force and decision 
of this young will rose as suddenly upon 
her as the one rock in the middle of the 
ocean which a voyager unexpectedly dis- 
covered by striking on it. 

But Elsie by no means regarded the 
game as lost. She mentally went over 
the field, considering here and there 
what was yet to be done. 

The subject had fairly been broached. 
Agnes had listened to it, and parted in 
friendship from Antonio. Now his old 
mother must be soothed and pacified; 

and Antonio must be made to perse- 

" What is a girl worth that can be won 
at the first asking ? " quoth Elsie. " De- 
pend upon it, she will fall to thinking of 
him, and the next time she sees him she 
will give him a good look. The girl 
never knew what it was to have a lov- 
er. No wonder she does n't take to it 
at first; there 's where her bringing up 
comes in, so difierent from other girls'. 
Courage, Elsie ! Nature will speak in its 
own time." 

Thus soliloquizing, she prepared to go 
a few steps from their dwelling, to the 
cottage of Meta and Antonio, which was 
situated at no great distance. 

"Nobody will think of coming here 
this time o' night," she said, " and the 
girl is in for a good hour at least with 
her prayers, and so I think I may ven- 
ture. I don't really like to leave her, 
but it 's not a great way, and I shall be 
back in a few moments. I want just to 
put a word into old Meta's ear, that she 
may teach Antonio how to demean him- 

And so the old soul took her spinning 
and away she went, leaving Agnes ab- 
sorbed in her devotions. 

The solemn starry night looked down 
steadfastly on the little garden. The even- 
ing wind creeping with gentle stir among 
the orange-leaves, and the falling waters 
of the fountain dripping their distant, 
solitary way down from rock to rock 
through the lonely gorge, were the on- 
ly sounds that broke the stillness. 

The monk was the first of the two to 
return ; for those accustomed to the hab- 
its of elderly cronies on a gossiping ex- 
pedition of any domestic importance will 
not be surprised that Elsie's few moments 
of projected talk lengthened impercepti- 
bly into hours. 

Agnes came forward anxiously to meet 
her uncle. He seemed wan and haggard, 
and trembling with some recent emo- 

"What is the matter with you, dear 
uncle ? " she asked. " Has anything hap- 
pened ? " 


Agnes of Sorrento, 


" Nothing, child, nothing. I have only 
been talking on painful subjects, deep 
perplexities, out of which I can scarcely 
see my way. Would to God this night 
of life were past, and I could see morn- 
ing on the mountains ! " 

"My uncle, have you not, then, suc- 
ceeded in bringing this young man to the 
bosom of the True Church ? " 

" Child, the way is hedged up, and 
made almost impassable by difficulties 
you little wot of. They cannot be told to 
you ; they are enough to destroy the faith 
of the very elect." 

Agnes's heart sank within her ; and the 
monk, sitting down on the wall of the 
garden, clasped his hands over one knee 
and gazed fixedly before him. 

The sight of her uncle, — generally 
so cheerful, so elastic, so full of bright 
thoughts and beautiful words, — so utter- 
ly cast down, was both a mystery and a 
terror to Agnes. 

" Oh, my uncle," she said, " it is hard 
that I must not know, and that I can do 
nothing, when I feel ready to die for this 
cause ! What is one little life ? Ah, 
if I had a thousand to give, I could melt 
them all into it, like little drops of rain 
in the sea ! Be not utterly cast down, 
good uncle ! Does not our dear Lord 
and Saviour reign in the heavens yet ? '* 

" Sweet little nightingale ! " said the 
monk, stretching his hand towards her. 
" Well did my master say that he gained 
strength to his soul always by talking 
with Christ's little children ! " 

" And all the dear saints and angels, 
they are not dead or idle either," said 
Agnes, her face kindling ; " they are 
busy all around us. I know not what 
this trouble is you speak of; but let us 
think what legions of bright angels and 
holy men and women are caring for us.' 

" Well said, well said, dear child ! 
There is, thank God, a Church Trium- 
phant, — a crowned queen, a glorious 
bride ; and the poor, struggling Church 
Militant shall rise to join her ! What mat- 
ter, then, though our way lie through dun- 
geon and chains, through fire and sword, 
if we may attain to that glory at last ? " 

" Uncle, are there such dreadful things 
really before you ? " 

" There may be, child. I say of my 
master, as did the holy Apostles : ' Let us 
also go, that we may die with him.' I 
feel a heavy presage. But I must not 
trouble you, child. Early in the morn- 
ing I will be up and away. I go with 
this youth, whose pathway lies a certain 
distance along mine, and whose company 
I seek for his good as well as my pleas- 

" You go with him f " said Agnes, with 
a start of surprise. 

" Yes ; his refuge in the mountains lies 
between here and Rome, and he hath 
kindly offered to bring me on my way 
faster than I can go on foot ; and I would 
fain see our beautiful Florence as soon 
as may be. O Florence, Florence, Lily 
of Italy ! wilt thou let thy prophet per- 
ish ? " 

" But, uncle, if he die for the faith, he 
will be a blessed martyr. That crown is 
worth dying for," said Agnes. 

" You say well, little one, — you say 
well ! ' Ex oribus parvulorum.' But one 
shrinks from that in the person of a 
friend which one could cheerfully wel- 
come for one's self. Oh, the blessed 
cross ! never is it welcome to the flesh, 
and yet how joyfully the spirit may walk 
under it ! " 

"Dear uncle, I have made a solemn 
vow before our Holy Mother this night," 
said Agnes, " to go on a pilgrimage to 
Rome, and at every shrine and holy 
place to pray that these great afflictions 
which beset all of you may have a hap- 
py issue." 

" My sweet heart, what have you 
done ? Have you considered the unset- 
tled roads, the wild, unruly men that are 
abroad, the robbers with which the 
mountains are filled ? " 

" These are all Christ's children and 
my brothers," said Agnes ; " for them 
was the most holy blood shed, as well as 
for me. They cannot harm one who 
prays for them." 

" But, dear heart of mine, these un- 
godly brawlers think little of prayer; and 


Agnes of Sorrento. 


this beautiful, innocent little face will but 
move the vilest and most brutal thoughts 
and deeds." 

" Saint Agnes still lives, dear uncle, — 
and He who kept her in worse trial. I 
shall walk through them all pure as 
snow, — I am assured I shall. The star 
which led the wise men and stood over 
the young child and his mother will lead 
me, too." 

" But your grandmother ? " 

" The Lord will incline her heart to 
go with me. Dear uncle, it does not 
beseem a child to reflect on its elders, 
yet I cannot but see that grandmamma 
loves this world and me too well for her 
soul's good. This journey will be for her 
eternal repose." 

" Well, well, dear one, I cannot now 
advise. Take advice of your confessor, 
and the blessed Lord and his holy Moth- 
er be with you ! But come now, I would 
soothe myself to sleep ; for I have need 
of good rest to-night. Let us sing to- 
gether our dear master's hymn of the 

And the monk and the maiden sang 
together : — 

" lesu, sommo conforto, 
Tu sei tutto 11 mlo amore 
E '1 mio beato porto, 
E santo Redentore. 

gran bouta, 

Dolce pieta, 

Felice quel che teco unito sta ! 

" La croce e '1 Crocifisso 
Sla nel mio cor scolpito, 
Ed io sia senipre affisso 
In gloria ov' egli h ito ! " * 

As the monk sang, his soul seemed to 
fuse itself into the sentiment with that 
natural grace peculiar to his nation. He 
walked up and down the little garden, 
apparently forgetful of Agnes or of any 
earthly presence, and in the last verses 
stretched his hands towards heaven with 
streaming tears and a fervor of utterance 

The soft and passionate tenderness of 
the Italian words must exhale in an Eng- 
lish translation, but enough may remain 
to show that the hymns with which Sa- 
vonarola at this time sowed the mind of 
Italy often mingled the Moravian quaint- 
ness and energy with the Wesleyan purity 
and tenderness. One of the great means 
of popular reform which he proposed was 
the supplanting of the obscene and licen- 
tious songs, which at that time so general- 
ly defiled the minds of the young, by re- 

* Jesus, best comfort of my soul. 
Be thou my only love. 
My sacred saviour from my sins, 
My door to heaven above ! 
O lofty goodness, love divine, 
Blest is the soul made one with thine ! 

Alas, how oft this sordid heart 

Hath wounded thy pure eye ! 
Yet for this heart upon the cross 

Thou gav'st thyself to die ! 

" Deh, quante volte ofFeso 
T' ha r alma e '1 cor meschino, 
E tu sei in croce steso 
Per salvar me, tapino ! 

Ah, would I were extended there. 

Upon that cold, hard tree, 
Where I have seen thee, gracious Lord, 

Breathe out thy life for me ! 

lesu, fuss' io confitto 
Sopra quel duro ligno, 
Dove ti vedo afflitto, 
lesu, Signor benigno ! 

Cross of my Lord, give room ! give room ! 

To thee my flesh be given ! 
Cleansed in thy fires of love and pain. 

My soul rise pure to heaven ! 

" croce, fammi loco, 
E le mie membra prendi, 
Che del tuo dolce foco 
II cor e r alma accendi ! 

Burn in my heart, celestial flame, 

With memories of him, 
Till, from earth's dross refined, I rise 

To join the seraphim! 

Infiamma il mio cor tanto 
Deir amor tuo divino, 
Ch' io arda tutto quanto, 
Che paia un serafino ! 

Ah, vanish each unworthy trace 
Of earthly care or pride, 

Leave only, graven on my heart, 
The Cross, the Crucified ! 


A New CounterUasL 


liglous words and melodies. The cliil- 
dren and young people brought up under 
his influence were sedulously stored with 
treasures of sacred melody, as the safest 
companions of leisure hours, and the sur- 
est guard against temptation. 

" Come now, my little one," said the 
monk, after they had ceased singing, as 
he laid his hand on Agnes's head. " I 
am strong now ; I know where I stand. 
And you, my little one, you are one of 
my master's ' Children of the Cross.' You 
must sing the hymns of our dear master, 
that I have taught you, when I am far 
away. A hymn is a singing angel, and 
goes walking through the earth, scatter- 
ing the devils before it. Therefore he 
who creates hymns imitates the most 
excellent and lovely works of our Lord 
God, who made the angels. These 
hymns watch our chamber-door, they sit 
upon our pillow, they sing to us when 
we awal^e ; and therefore our master was 
resolved to sow the minds of his young 
people with them, as our lovely Italy is 
sown with the seeds of all colored flowers. 
How lovely has it often been to me, as I 
sat at my work in Florence, to hear the 
little children go by, chanting of Jesus 
and Mary, — ■ and young men singing to 

young maidens, not vain flatteries of 
their beauty, but the praises of the One 
only Beautiful, whose smile sows heaven 
with stars like flowers ! Ah, in my day 
I have seen blessed times in Florence ! 
Truly was she worthy to be called the 
Lily City ! — for all her care seemed to 
be to make white her garments to receive 
her Lord and Bridegroom. Yes, though 
she had sinned like the Magdalen, yet 
she loved much, like her. She washed 
His feet with her tears, and wiped them 
with the hair of her head. Oh, my beau- 
tiful Florence, be true to thy vows, be 
true to thy Lord and Governor, Jesus 
Christ, and all shall be well ! " 

" Amen, dear uncle ! " said Agnes. " I 
will not fail to pray day and night, 
that thus it may be. And now, if you 
must travel so far, you must go to rest. 
Grandmamma has gone long ago. I saw 
her steal by as we were singing." 

" And is there any message from my 
little Agnes to this young man ? " asked 
the monk. 

" Yes. Say to him that Agnes prays 
daily that he may be a worthy son and 
soldier of the Lord Jesus." 

" Amen, sweet heart ! Jesu and His 
sweet Mother bless thee ! " 


" He that taketh tobacco saith he cannot leave it, it doth bewitch him."- 
TO Tobacco. 

• King James's Counterblast 

America is especially responsible to 
the whole world for tobacco, since the 
two are twin-sisters, born to the globe in 
a day. The sailors first sent on shore by 
Columbus came back with news of a new 
continent and a new condiment. There 
was solid land, and there was a novel 
perfume, which rolled in clouds from the 
lips of the natives. The fame of the 
two great discoveries instantly began to 
overspread the world; but the smoke 
travelled fastest, as is its nature. There 

are many races which have not yet heard 
of America : there are very few which 
have not yet tasted of tobacco. A plant 
which was originally the amusement of a 
few savage tribes has become in a few 
centuries the fancied necessary of life to 
the most enlightened nations of the earth, 
and it is probable that there is nothing 
cultivated by man which is now so uni- 
versally employed. 

And the plant owes this width of ce- 
lebrity to a combination of natural qual- 


A New Counterblast. 


ities so remarkable as to yield great di- 
versities of good and evil fame. It was 
first heralded as a medical panacea, " the 
most sovereign and precious weed that 
ever the earth tendered to the use of 
man," and was seldom mentioned, in the 
sixteenth century, without some reveren- 
tial epithet. It was a plant divine, a 
canonized vegetable. Each nation had 
its own pious name to bestow upon it. 
The French called it herhe sainie, herhe 
sacree, herhe propre a tous maux, jmna- 
cee antarctique, — the Italians, lierha san- 
ta croce, — the Germans, Jieilig wund- 
kraut. Botanists soberly classified it as 
herha panacea and herha sancta, and Ge- 
rard in his " Herbal " fixed its name fi- 
nally as Sana sancta Indorum, by which 
title it commonly appears in the profes- 
sional recipes of the time. Spenser, in 
his " Faerie Queene," bids the lovely Bel- 
phoebe gather it as " divine tobacco," 
and Lilly the Euphuist calls it " our ho- 
ly herb Nicotian," ranking it between 
violets and honey. It was cultivated in 
France for medicinal purposes solely, for 
half a century before any one there used 
it for pleasure, and till within the last 
hundred years it was familiarly prescrib- 
ed, all over Europe, for asthma, gout, ca- 
tarrh, consumption, headache ; and, in 
short, was credited with curing more dis- 
eases than even the eighty-seven which 
Dr. Shew now charges it with producing. 
So vast were the results of all this san- 
itary enthusiasm, that the use of tobacco 
in Europe probably reached its climax in 
a century or two, and has since rather 
diminished than increased, in proportion 
to the population. It probably appeared 
in England in 1586, being first used in 
the Indian fashion, by handing one pipe 
from man to man throughout the compa- 
ny ; the medium of communication being 
a silver tube for the higher classes, and a 
straw and walnut-shell for the baser sort. 
Paul Hentzner,, who travelled in Eng- 
land in 1598, and Monsieur Misson, who 
wrote precisely a century later, note al- 
most in the same words " a perpetual 
use of tobacco " ; and the latter suspects 
that this is what makes " the generality 

VOL. VIII. 45 

of Englishmen so taciturn, so thoughtful, 
and so melancholy." In Queen Eliza- 
beth's time, the ladies of the court " would 
not scruple to blow a pipe together very 
socially." In 1614 it was asserted that 
tobacco was sold openly in more than 
seven thousand places in London, some 
of these being already attended by that 
patient Indian who still stands seduc- 
tive at tobacconists' doors. It was also 
estimated that the annual receipts of 
these estabhshments amounted to more 
than three hundred thousand pounds. 
Elegant ladies had their pictures painted, 
at least one in 1650 did, with pipe and 
box in hand. Rochefort, a rather apoc- 
ryphal French traveller in 1672, report- 
ed it to be the general custom in Enghsh 
homes to set pipes on the table in the 
evening for the females as well as males 
of the family, and to provide children's 
luncheon-baskets with a well-filled pipe, 
to be smoked at school, under the direct- 
ing eye of the master. In 1703, Law- 
rence Spooner wrote that " the sin of the 
kingdom in the intemperate use of tobac- 
co swelleth and increaseth so daily that I 
can compare it to nothing but the waters 
of Noah, that swelled fifteen cubits above 
the highest mountains." The deluge reach- 
ed its height in England — so thinks 
the amusing and indefatigable Mr. Fair- 
holt, author of " Tobacco and its Associa- 
tions" — in the reign of Queen Anne. 
Steele, in the " Spectator," (1711,) de- 
scribes the snufi*-box as a rival to the fan 
among ladies ; and Goldsmith pictures the 
belles at Bath as entering the water in 
full bathing costume, each provided with 
a small floating basket, to hold a snuff- 
box, a kerchief, and a nosegay. And 
finally, in 1797, Dr. Clarke complains of 
the handing about of the snuff-box in 
churches during worship, " to the great 
scandal of religious people," — adding, 
that kneeling in prayer was prevented by 
the large quantity of saliva ejected in all 
directions. In view of such formidable 
statements as these, it is hardly possible 
to believe that the present generation 
surpasses or even equals the past in the 
consumption of tobacco. 


A New Coimterhlast. 


And all this sudden popularity -was in 
spite of a vast persecution which sought 
to unite all Europe against this indul- 
gence, in the seventeenth century. In 
llussia, its use was punishable with am- 
putation of the nose ; in Berne, it ranked 
next to adultery among offences ; San- 
dys, the traveller, saw a Turk led through 
the streets of Constantinople mounted 
backward on an ass with a tobacco-pipe 
thrust through his nose. Pope Urban 
VllL, in 1624, excommunicated those 
who should use it in churches, and Inno- 
cent XII., in 1690, echoed the same 
anathema. Yet within a few years af- 
terwards travellers reported that same 
free use of snuff in Romish worship which 
still astonishes spectators. To see a priest, 
during the momentous ceremonial of 
High Mass, enliven the occasion by a 
voluptuous pinch, is a sight even more 
astonishing, though perhaps less disagree- 
able, than the well-used spittoon which 
decorates so many Protestant pulpits. 

But the Protestant pulpits did their full 
share in fighting the habit, for a time at 
least. Among the Puritans, no man could 
use tobacco publicly, on penalty of a fine 
of two and sixpence, or in a private dwell- 
ing, if strangers were present ; and no 
two could use it together. That iron pipe 
of Miles Standish, still preserved at Ply- 
mouth, must have been smoked in solitude 
or not at all. This strictness was gradu- 
ally relaxed, however, as the clergy took 
up the habit of smoking ; and I have seen 
an old painting, on the panels of an an- 
cient parsonage in Newburyport, repre- 
senting a jovial circle of portly divines 
sitting pipe in hand around a table, with 
the Latin motto, " In essentials unity, in 
non-essentials liberty, in all things char- 
ity." Apparently the tobacco was one 
of the essentials, since there was unity 
respecting that. Furthermore, Captain 
Underbill, hero of the Pequot War, boast- 
ed to the saints of having received his 
assurance of salvation " while enjoying 
a pipe of that good creature, tobacco," 
" since when he had never doubted it, 
•though he should fall into sin." But it 
is melancholy to relate that this fall did 

presently take place, in a very flagrant 
manner, and brought discredit upon to- 
bacco conversions, as being liable to end 
in smoke. 

Indeed, some of the most royal wills 
that ever lived in the world have meas- 
ured themselves against the tobacco-plant 
and been defeated. Charles I. attempt- 
ed to banish it, and in return the sol- 
diers of Cromwell puffed their smoke 
contemptuously in his face, as he sat a 
prisoner in the guard-chamber. Crom- 
well himself undertook it, and Evelyn 
says that the troopers smoked in triumph 
at his funeral. Wellington tried it, and 
the artists caricatured him on a pipe's 
head with a soldier behind him defying 
with a whiff that imperial nose. Louis 
Napoleon is said to be now attempting 
it, and probably finds his subjects more 
ready to surrender the freedom of the 
press than of the pipe. 

The more recent efforts against tobac- 
co, like most arguments in which morals 
and physiology are mingled, have lost 
much of their effect through exaggera- 
tion. On both sides there has been en- 
listed much loose statement, with some 
bad logic. It is, for instance, unreason- 
able to hold up the tobacco-plant to gen- 
eral indignation because Linnasus classed 
it with the natural order Luridce^ — since 
he attributed the luridness only to the col- 
or of those plants, not to their character. 
It is absurd to denounce it as belonging 
to the poisonous nightshade tribe, when 
the potato and the tomato also apper- 
tain to that perilous domestic circle. It 
is hardly fair even to complain of it for 
yielding a poisonous oil, when these two 
virtuous plants — to say nothing of the 
peach and the almond — will under suf- 
ficient chemical provocation do the same 
thing. Two drops of nicotine will, indeed, 
kill a rabbit ; but so, it is said, will two 
drops of solanine. Great are the re- 
sources of chemistry, and a well-regu- 
lated scientific mind can detect some- 
thing deadly almost anywhere. 

Nor is it safe to assume, as many do, 
that tobacco predisposes very powerfully 
to more dangerous dissipations. The non- 



A New Counterblast, 


smoking Saxons were probably far more 
intemperate in drinking than the modern 
English; and Lane, the best authority, 
points out that wine is now far less used 
by the Orientals than at the time of the 
" Arabian Nights," when tobacco had not 
been introduced. And in respect to yet 
more perilous sensual excesses, tobacco is 
now admitted, both by friends and foes, 
to be quite as much a sedative as a stimu- 

The point of objection on the ground 
of inordinate expense is doubtless better 
taken, and can be met only by substan- 
tial proof that the enormous outlay is a 
wise one. Tobacco may be " the ano- 
dyne of poverty," as somebody has said, 
but it certainly promotes poverty. This 
narcotic lulls to sleep all pecuniary econ- 
omy. Every pipe may not, indeed, cost 
so much as that jewelled one seen by 
Dibdin in Vienna, which was valued at 
a thousand pounds ; or even as the Ger- 
man meerschaum which was passed from 
mouth to mouth through a whole regiment 
of soldiers till it was colored to perfection, 
having never been allowed to cool,— a bill 
of one hundred pounds being ultimately 
rendered for the tobacco consumed. But 
how heedlessly men squander money on 
this pet luxury ! By the report of the 
English University Commissioners, some 
ten years ago, a student's annual tobacco- 
bill often amounts to forty pounds. Dr. 
Solly puts thirty pounds as the lowest an- 
nual expenditure of an English smoker, 
and knows many who spend one hundred 
and twenty pounds, and one three hun- 
dred pounds a year, on tobacco alone. In 
this country the facts are hard to obtain, 
but many a man smokes twelve four- 
cent cigars a day, and many a man four 
twelve-cent cigars, — spending in either 
case about half a dollar a day and not 
far from two hundred dollars per annum. 
An industrious mechanic earns his two 
dollars and fifty cents a day or a clerk 
his eight hundred dollars a year, spends 
a quarter of it on tobacco, and the rest on 
his wife, children, and miscellaneous ex- 

But the impotency which marks some 

of the stock arguments against tobacco 
extends to most of those in favor of it. 
My friend assures me that every one 
needs some narcotic, that the American 
brain is too active, and that the influence 
of tobacco is quieting, — great is the en- 
joyment of a comfortable pipe after din- 
ner. I grant, on observing him at that 
period, that it appears so. But I also 
observe, that, when the placid hour has 
passed away, his nervous system is more 
susceptible, his hand more tremulous, his 
temper more irritable on slight occa- 
sions, than during the days when the 
comfortable pipe chances to be omitted. 
The only effect of the narcotic appears, 
therefore, to be a demand for another 
narcotic ; and there seems no decided ad- 
vantage over the life of the birds and 
bees, who appear to keep their nervous 
systems in tolerably healthy condition 
with no narcotic at all. 

The argument drawn from a compari- 
son of races is no better. Germans are 
vigorous and Turks are long-lived, and 
they are all great smokers. But certain- 
ly the Germans do not appear so viva- 
cious, nor the Turks so energetic, as to 
afford triumphant demonstrations in be- 
half of the sacred weed. Moreover, the 
Eastern tobacco is as much milder than 
ours as are the Continental wines than 
even those semi-alcoholic mixtures which 
prevail at scrupulous communion-tables. 
And as for German health, Dr. Schneider 
declares, in the London " Lancet," that it 
is because of smoke that all his educated 
countrymen wear spectacles, that an im- 
mense amount of consumption is produced 
in Germany by tobacco, and that English 
insurance companies are proverbially cau- 
tious in insuring German lives. Dr. Car- 
lyon gives much the same as his obser- 
vation in Holland. These facts may be 
overstated, but they are at least as good 
as those which they answer. 

Not much better is the excuse alleged 
in the social and genial influences of to- 
bacco. It certainly seems a singular way 
of opening the lips for conversation by 
closing them on a pipe-stem, and it would 
rather appear as if Fate designed to gag 


A New Counterblast. 


the smokers and let the non-smokers talk. 
But supposing it otherwise, does it not 
mark a condition of extreme juvenility 
in our social development, if no resources 
of intellect can enable a half-dozen intel- 
ligent men to be agreeable to each other, 
without applying the forcing process, by 
turning the room into an imperfectly or- 
ganized chimney ? Brilliant women can 
be brilliant without either wine or tobac- 
co, and Napoleon always maintained that 
•without an admixture of feminine wit 
conversation grew tame. Are all male 
beings so much stupider by nature than 
the other sex, that men require stimu- 
lants and narcotics to make them mutual- 
ly endurable ? 

And as the conversational superiori- 
ties of woman disprove the supposed so- 
cial inspirations of tobacco, so do her more 
refined perceptions yet more emphatical- 
ly pronounce its doom. Though belles 
of the less mature description, eulogistic 
of sophomores, may stoutly profess that 
they dote on the Virginian perfume, yet 
cultivated womanhood barely tolerates 
the choicest tobacco-smoke, even in its 
freshness, and utterly recoils from the 
stale suggestions of yesterday. By what- 
ever enthusiasm misled, she finds some- 
thing abhorrent in the very nature of the 
thing. In vain did loyal Frenchmen bap- 
tize the weed as the queen's own favor- 
ite, Herha Catherince Medicce; it is easier 
to admit that Catherine de' Medici was 
not feminine than that tobacco is. Man 
also recognizes the antagonism ; there is 
scarcely a husband in America who would 
not be converted from smoking, if his wife 
resolutely demanded her right of moiety 
in the cigar-box. No Lady Mary, no 
loveliest Marquise, could make snufi- 
taking beauty otherwise than repugnant 
to this generation. Rustic females who 
habitually chew even pitch or spruce- 
gum are rendered thereby so repulsive 
that the fancy refuses to pursue the hor- 
ror farther and imagine it tobacco ; and 
all the charms of the veil and the fan 
can scarcely reconcile the most fumacious 
American to the cigarrito of the Spanish 
fair. How strange seems Barton's pic- 

ture of General Jackson puffing his long 
clay pipe on one side of the fireplace 
and Mrs. Jackson puffing hers on the 
other ! No doubt, to the heart of the 
chivalrous backwoodsman those smoke- 
dried lips were yet the altar of early 
passion, — as that rather ungrammatical 
tongue was still the music of the spheres ; 
but the unattractiveness of that conju- 
gal counterblast is Nature's own protest 
against smoking. 

The use of tobacco must, therefore, be 
held to mark a rather coarse and childish 
epoch in our civilization, if nothing worse. 
Its most ardent admirer hardly paints it 
into his picture of the Golden Age. It 
is difficult to associate it with one's fan- 
cies of the noblest manhood, and Miss 
Muloch reasonably defies the human im- 
agination to portray Shakspeare or Dan- 
te with pipe in mouth. Goethe detested 
it ; so did Napoleon, save in the form of 
snuff*, which he apparently used on Tal- 
leyrand's principle, that diplomacy was 
impossible without it. Bacon said, " To- 
bacco-smoking is a secret delight serving 
only to steal away men's brains." New- 
ton abstained from it : the contrary is of- 
ten claimed, but thus says his biographer, 
Brewster, — saying that " he would make 
no necessities to himself." Franklin says 
he never used it, and never met with one 
of its votaries who advised him to follow 
the example. John Quincy Adams used 
it in early youth, and after thirty years of 
abstinence said, that, if every one would 
try abstinence for three months, it would 
annihilate the practice, and add five years 
to the average length of human life. 

In attempting to go beyond these gen- 
eral charges of waste and foolishness, and 
to examine the physiological results of the 
use of tobacco, one is met by the contra- 
dictions and perplexities which haunt all 
such inquiries. Doctors, of course, disa- 
gree, and the special cases cited triumph- 
antly by either side are ruled out as excep- 
tional by the other. It is like the question 
of the precise degree of injury done by al- 
coholic drinks. To-day's newspaper writes 
the eulogy of A. B., who recently died at 
the age of ninety-nine, without ever tast- 


A New CounterhlasL 


ing ardent spirits ; to-morrow's will add 
the epitaph of C. D., aged one hundred, 
who has imbibed a quart of rum a day 
since reaching the age of indiscretion ; and 
yet, after all, both editors have to admit 
that the drinking usages of society are 
growing decidedly more decent. It is 
the same with the tobacco argument. In- 
dividual cases prove nothing either way ; 
there is such a range of vital vigor in dif- 
ferent individuals, that one may withstand 
a life of error, and another perish in spite 
of prudence. The question is of the gen- 
eral tendency. It is not enough to know 
that Dr. Parr smoked twenty pipes in an 
evening, and lived to be seventy-eight; 
that Thomas Hobbes smoked thirteen, 
and survived to ninety-two ; that Brissiac 
of Trieste died at one hundred and six- 
teen, with a pipe in his mouth ; and that 
Henry Hartz of Schleswig used tobacco 
steadily from the age of sixteen to one 
hundred and forty-two ; nor would any 
accumulation of such healthy old sinners 
prove anything satisfactory. It seems rath- 
er overwhelming, to be sure, when Mr. 
Fairholt assures us that his respected fa- 
ther " died at the age of seventy-two : he 
had been twelve hours a day in a tobacco- 
manufactory for nearly fifty years ; and 
he both smoked and chewed while busy 
in the labors of the workshop, sometimes 
in a dense cloud of steam from drying the 
damp tobacco over the stoves; and his 
health and appetite were perfect to the 
day of his death : he was a model of mus- 
cular and stomachic energy ; in which his 
son, who neither smokes, snuffs, nor chews, 
by no means rivals him." But until we 
know precisely what capital of health the 
venerable tobacconist inherited from his 
fathers, and in what condition he trans- 
mitted it to his sons, the statement cer- 
tainly has two edges. 

For there are facts equally notorious 
on the other side. It is not denied that 
it is found necessary to exclude tobacco, 
as a general rule, from insane asylums, 
or that it produces, in extreme cases, 
among perfectly sober persons, effects 
akin to delirium tremens. Nor is it de- 
nied that terrible local diseases follow it, — 

as, for instance, cancer of the mouth, which 
has become, according to the eminent sur- 
geon, Brouisson, the disease most dreaded 
in the French hospitals. He has perform- 
ed sixty-eight operations for this, within 
fourteen years, in the Hospital St. Eloi, 
and traces it entirely to the use of tobac- 
co. Such facts are chiefly valuable as 
showing the tendency of the thing. Where 
the evils of excess are so glaring, the ad- 
vantages of even moderate use are ques- 
tionable. Where weak persons are made 
insane, there is room for suspicion that 
the strong may suffer unconsciously. You 
may say that the victims must have been 
constitiitionally nervous ; but where is the 
native-born American who is not ? 

In France and England the recent in- 
quiries into the effects of tobacco seem 
to have been a little more systematic 
than our own. In the former country, 
the newspapers state, the attention of 
the Emperor was called to the fact that 
those pupils of the Polytechnic School 
who used this indulgence were decided- 
ly inferior in average attainments to the 
rest. This is stated to have led to its 
prohibition in the school, and to the 
forming of an anti-tobacco organization, 
which is said to be making great progress 
in France. I cannot, however, obtain 
from any of our medical libraries any 
satisfactory information as to the French 
agitation, and am led by private advices 
to believe that even these general state- 
ments are hardly trustworthy. The re- 
cent English discussions are, however, 
more easy of access. 

" The Great Tobacco Question," as 
the controversy in England was called, 
originated in a Clinical Lecture on Par 
ralysis, by Mr. Solly, Surgeon of St. 
Thomas's Hospital, which was published 
in the " Lancet," December 13, 1856. He 
incidentally spoke of tobacco as an im- 
portant source of this disease, and went 
on to say, — "I know of no single vice 
which does so much harm as smoking. 
It is a snare and a delusion. It soothes 
the excited nervous system at the time, 
to render it more irritable and feeble ul- 
timately. It is like opium in this respect ; 


A New Counterblast 


and if you want to know all the wretch- 
edness which this drug can produce, you 
should read the ' Confessions of an Eng- 
lish Opium-Eater.* " This statement was 
presently echoed by J. Ranald Martin, 
an eminent surgeon, " whose Eastern 
experience rendered his opinion of im- 
mense value," and who used language al- 
most identical with that of Mr. Solly : — 
" I can state of my own observation, that 
the miseries, mental and bodily, which I 
have witnessed from the abuse of cigar- 
smoking, far exceed anything detailed in 
the ' Confessions of an Opium-Eater.' " 

This led off a controversy which con- 
tinued for several months in the columns 
of the " Lancet," — a controversy con- 
ducted in a wonderfully good-natured 
spirit, considering that more than fifty 
physicians took part in it, and that these 
were almost equally divided. The de- 
bate took a wide range, and some inter- 
esting facts were elicited : as that Lord 
Raglan, General Markham, and Admi- 
rals Dundas and Napier always aban- 
doned tobacco from the moment when 
they were ordered on actual service ; 
that nine-tenths of the first-class men at 
the Universities were non-smokers; that 
two Indian chiefs told Power, the actor, 
that " those Lidians who smoked gave 
out soonest in the chase " ; and so on. 
There were also American examples, 
rather loosely gathered : thus, a remark 
of the venerable Dr. Waterhouse, made 
many years ago, was cited as the con- 
temporary opinion of " the Medical Pro- 
fessor in Harvard University " ; also it 
was mentioned, as an acknowledged fact, 
that the American physique was rapid- 
ly deteriorating because of tobacco, and 
that coroners' verdicts were constantly 
being thus pronounced on American 
youths : " Died of excessive smoking." 
On the other hand, that eminent citizen 
of our Union, General Thomas Thumb, 
was about that time professionally exam- 
ined in London, and his verdict on to- 
bacco was quoted to be, that it was " one 
of his chief comforts " ; also mention was 
made of a hapless quack who announced 
himself as coming from Boston, and who, 

to keep up the Yankee reputation, issued 
a combined advertisement of " medical 
advice gratis" and "prime cigars." 

But these stray American instances 
were of course quite outnumbered by 
the English, and there is scarcely an ill 
which was not in this controversy charg- 
ed upon tobacco by its enemies, nor a 
physical or moral benefit which was not 
claimed for it by its friends. According 
to these, it prevents dissension and dysp- 
noea, inflammation and insanity, saves 
the waste of tissue and of time, blunts 
the edge of grief and lightens pain. " No 
man was ever in a passion with a pipe in 
his mouth." There are more female lu- 
natics chiefly because the fumigatory ed- 
ucation of the fair sex has been neglect- 
ed. Yet it is important to notice that 
these same advocates almost outdo its 
opponents in admitting its liability to 
misuse, and the perilous consequences. 
" The injurious efiects of excessive smok- 
ing," — " there is no more pitiable object 
than the inveterate smoker," — " seden- 
tary life is incompatible with smoking," 

— highly pernicious, — general debility, 

— secretions all wrong, — cerebral soft- 
ening, — partial paralysis, — trembling 
of the hand, — enervation and depres- 
sion, — great irritability, — neuralgia, — 
narcotism of the heart : this Chamber of 
Horrors forms a part of the very Temple 
of Tobacco, as builded, not by foes, but by 
worshippers. " All men of observation 
and experience," they admit, " must be 
able to point to instances of disease and 
derangement from the abuse of this lux- 
ury." Yet they advocate it, as the same 
men advocate intoxicating drinks ; not 
meeting the question, in either case, 
whether it be wise, or even generous, for 
the strong to continue an indulgence 
which is thus confessedly ruinous to the 

The controversy had its course, and 
ended, like most controversies, without 
establishing anything. The editor of the 
" Lancet," to be sure, summed up the 
evidence very fairly, and it is worth 
while to quote him : — "It is almost un- 
necessary to make a separate inquiry 


A New Counterblast. 


into the pathological conditions which 
follow upon excessive smoking. Abun- 
dant evidence has been adduced of the 
gigantic evils which attend the abuse of 
tobacco. Let it be granted at once that 
there is such a thing as moderate smok- 
ing, and let it be admitted that we can- 
not accuse tobacco of being guilty of the 
whole of Cullen's * Nosology ' ; it 4ill re- 
mains that there is a long catalogue of 
frightful penalties attached to its abuse." 
He then proceeds to consider what is to 
be called abuse: as, for instance, smok- 
ing more than one or two cigars or pipes 
daily, — smoking too early in the day or 
too early in life, — and in general, the 
use of tobacco by those with whom it 
does not agree, — which rather reminds 
one of the early temperance pledges, 
which bound a man to drink no more 
rum than he found to be good for him. 
But the Chief Justice of the Medical 
Court finally instructs his jury of read- 
ers that young men should give up a 
dubious pleasure for a certain good, and 
abandon tobacco altogether: — " Shun the 
habit of smoking as you would shun self- 
destruction. As you value your phys- 
ical and moral well-being, avoid a habit 
which for you can offer no advantage to 
compare with the dangers you incur." 

Yet, after all, neither he nor his wit- 
nesses seem fairly to have hit upon what 
seem to this present writer the two in- 
controvertible arguments against tobac- 
co; one being drawn from theory, and 
the other from practice. 

First, as to the theory of the thing. The 
laws of Nature warn every man who uses 
tobacco for the first time, that he is deal- 
ing with a poison. Nobody denies this 
attribute of the plant ; it is " a narcotic 
poison of the most active class." It is 
not merely that a poison can by chemical 
process be extracted from it, but it is a poi- 
son in its simplest form. Its mere appli- 
cation to the skin has often produced un- 
controllable nausea and prostration. Chil- 
dren have in several cases been killed 
by the mere application of tobacco oint- 
ment to the head. Soldiers have simu- 
lated sickness by placing it beneath the 

armpits, — though in most cases our reg- 
iments would probably consider this a 
mistaken application of the treasure. To- 
bacco, then, is simply and absolutely a 

Now to say that a substance is a poi- 
son is not to say that it inevitably kills ; 
it may be apparently innocuous, if not 
incidentally beneficial. King Mithri- 
dates, it is said, learned habitually to 
consume these dangerous commodities ; 
and the scarcely less mythical Du Chail- 
lu, after the fatigues of his gorilla war- 
fare, found decided benefit from two 
ounces of arsenic. But to say that a 
substance is a poison is to say at least that 
it is a noxious drug, — that it is a medi- 
cine, not an aliment, — that its efiects are 
pathological, not physiological, — and that 
its use should therefore be exceptional, 
not habitual. Not tending to the preser- 
vation of a normal state, but at best to 
the correction of some abnormal one, its 
whole value, if it have any, lies in the rar- 
ity of its application. To apply a pow- 
erful drug at a certain hour every day 
is like a schoolmaster's whipping his pu- 
pil at a certain hour every day : the vic- 
tim may become inured, but undoubted- 
ly the specific value of the remedy must 
vanish with the repetition. 

Thus much would be true, were it 
proved that tobacco is in some cases ap- 
parently beneficial. No drug is bene- 
ficial, when constantly employed. But, 
furthermore, if not beneficial, it then is 
injurious. As Dr. Holmes has so forcibly 
expounded, every medicine is in itself 
hurtful. All noxious agents, according 
to him, cost a patient, on an average, five 
per cent, of his vital power ; that is, twen- 
ty times as much would kill him. It is 
believed that they are sometimes indi- 
rectly useful ; it is known that they are 
always directly hurtful. That is, I have 
a neighbor on one side who takes tobacco 
to cure his dyspepsia, and a neighbor on 
the other side who takes blue pill for his 
infirmities generally. The profit of the 
operation may be sure or doubtful ; the 
outlay is certain, and to be deducted in 
any event. I have no doubt, my dear 


A New Counterblast, 


Madam, that your interesting son has 
learned to smoke, as he states, in order 
to check that very distressing toothache 
which so hindered his studies ; but I sin- 
cerely think it would be better to have 
the affliction removed by a dentist at a 
cost of fifty cents than by a drug at an 
expense of five per cent, of vital pow- 

Fortunately, when it comes to the prac- 
tical test, the whole position is conceded 
to our hands, and the very devotees of 
tobacco are false to their idol. It is not 
merely that the most fumigatory parent 
dissuades his sons from the practice ; but 
there is a more remarkable instance. If 
any two classes can be singled out in the 
community as the largest habitual con- 
sumers of tobacco, it must be the college 
students and the city " roughs " or " row- 
dies," or whatever the latest slang name 
is, — for these roysterers, like oysters, in- 
cline to names with an r in. Now the 
" rough," when brought to a physical cli- 
max, becomes the prize-fighter ; and the 
college student is seen in his highest con- 
dition as the prize-oarsman ; and both 
these representative men, under such cir- 
cumstances of ambition, straightway aban- 
don tobacco. Such a concession, from 
such a quainter, is worth all the denun- 
ciations of good Mr. Trask. Appeal, O 
anxious mother ! from Philip smoking to 
Philip training. What your progeny will 
not do for any considerations of ethics or 
economy, — to save his sisters' olfactories 
or the atmosphere of the family altar, — 
that he does unflinchingly at one word 
from the stroke-oar or the commodore. 
In so doing, he surrenders every inch of 
the ground, and owns unequivocally that 
he is in better condition without tobacco. 
The old traditions of training are in some 
other respects being softened : strawber- 
ries are no longer contraband, and the 
last agonies of thirst are no longer a part 
of the prescription ; but training and to- 
bacco are still incompatible. There is 
not a regatta or a prize-fight in which the 
betting would not be seriously affected 
by the discovery that either party used 
the beguiling weed. 

The argument is irresistible, — or rath- 
er, it is not so much an argument as a 
plea of guilty under the indictment. The 
prime devotees of tobacco voluntarily 
abstain from it, like Lord Raglan and 
Admiral Napier, when they wish to be 
in their best condition. But are we ever, 
any of us, in too good condition ? Have 
all the%anitary conventions yet succeed- 
ed in detecting one man, in our high- 
pressure America, who finds himself too 
well ? If a man goes into training for 
the mimic contest, why not for the actual 
one ? If he needs steady nerves and a 
cool head for the play of life, — and even 
prize-fighting is called " sporting,"— why 
not for its earnest ? Here we are all 
croaking that we are not in the health in 
which our twentieth birthday found us, 
and yet we will not condescend to the 
wise abstinence which even twenty prac- 
tises. Moderate training is simply a ra- 
tional and healthful life. 

So palpable is this, that there is strong 
reason to believe that the increased at- 
tention to physical training is operating 
against tobacco. If we may trust litera- 
ture, as has been shown, its use is not 
now so great as formerly, in spite of the 
vague guesses of alarmists. " It is esti- 
mated," says Mr. Coles, "that the con- 
sumption of tobacco in this country is 
eight times as great as in France and 
three times as great as in England, in 
proportion to the population " ; but there 
is nothing in the world more uncertain 
than " It is estimated." It is frequently 
estimated, for instance, that nine out of 
ten of our college students use tobacco ; 
and yet by the statistics of the last grad- 
uating class at Cambridge it appears that 
it is used by only thirty-one out of sev- 
enty-six. I am satisfied that the extent 
of the practice is often exaggerated. In a 
gymnastic club of young men, for instance, 
where I have had opportunity to take the 
statistics, it is found that less than one- 
quarter use it, though there has never 
been any agitation or discussion of the 
matter. These things indicate that it 
can no longer be claimed, as Moliere as- 
serted two centuries ago, that he who 


The Wolves, 


lives Tvithout tobacco is not worthy to 

And as there has been some exagger- 
ation in describing the extent to which 
Tobacco is King, so there has doubt- 
less been some overstatement as to the 
cruelty of his despotism. Enough, how- 
ever, remains to condemn him. The 
present writer, at least, has the firmest 
conviction, from personal observation and 
experience, that the imagined benefits of 
tobacco-using (which have never, perhaps, 
been better stated than in an essay which 
appeared in this magazine, in August, 
1860) are ordinarily an illusion, and its 
evils a far more solid reality, — that it 
stimulates only to enervate, soothes only 
to depress, — that it neither permanently 
calms the nerves nor softens the temper 
nor enlightens the brain, but that in the 

end its tendencies are precisely the oppo- 
sites of these, beside the undoubted inci- 
dental objections of costliness and un- 
cleanness. When men can find any oth- 
er instance of a poisonous drug which is 
suitable for daily consumption, they will 
be more consistent in using this. When 
it is admitted to be innocuous to those 
who are in training for athletic feats, it 
may be possible to suppose it beneficial 
to those who are out of training. Mean- 
while there seems no ground for its sup- 
porters except that to which the famous 
Robert Hall was reduced, as he says, by 
" the Society of Doctors of Divinity." He 
sent a message to Dr. Clarke, in return 
for a pamphlet against tobacco, that he 
could not possibly refute his arguments 
and could not possibly give up smok- 


Ye who listen to stories told. 

When hearths are cheery and nights are cold, 

Of the lone wood-side, and the hungry pack 
That howls on the fainting traveller's track, — 

Flame-red eyeballs that waylay, 

By the wintry moon, the belated sleigh, — 

The lost child sought in the dismal wood. 
The little shoes and the stains of blood 

On the trampled snow, — O ye that hear, 
With thrills of pity or chills of fear, 

Wishing some angel had been sent 
To shield the hapless and innocent, — 

Know ye the fiend that is crueller far 

Than the gaunt gray herds of the forest are ? 

Swiftly vanish the wild fleet tracks 
Before the rifle and woodman's axe : 

706 The Wolves. [December. 

But hark to the comhig of unseen feet, 
Pattering by night through the city street ! 

Each wolf that dies in the woodland brown 
Lives a spectre and haunts the town. 

By square and market they slink and prowl, 
In lane and alley they leap and howl. 

All night they snuff and snarl before 

The poor patched window and broken door. 

They paw the clapboards and claw the latch, 
At every crevice they whine and scratch. 

Their tongues are subtle and long and thin, 
And they lap the living blood within. 

Icy keen are the teeth that tear, 
Red as ruin the eyes that glare. 

Children crouched in corners cold 
Shiver in tattered garments old, 

And start from sleep with bitter pangs 

At the touch of the phantoms' viewless fangs. 

Weary the mother and worn with strife, 
Still she watches and fights for life. 

But her hand is feeble, and weapon small : 
One httle needle against them all ! 

In evil hour the daughter fled 

From her poor shelter and wretched bed. 

Through the city's pitiless solitude 
To the door of sin the wolves pursued. 

Fierce the father and grim with want. 
His heart is gnawed by the spectres gaunt. 

Frenzied stealing forth by night. 

With whetted knife, to the desperate fight. 

He thought to strike the spectres dead, 
But he smites his brother man instead. 

O you that listen to stories told. 

When hearths are cheery and nights are cold, 

1861.] A Story of To-Day, 707 

Weep no more at the tales you hear, 

The danger is close and the wolves are near. 

Shudder not at the murderer's name, 
Marvel not at the maiden's shame. 

Pass not by with averted eye 

The door where the stricken children cry. 

But when the beat of the unseen feet 
Sounds by night through the stormy street, 

Follow thou where the spectres glide ; 
Stand like Hope by the mother's side ; 

And be thyself the angel sent 

To shield the hapless and innocent 

He gives but little who gives his tears, 
He gives his best who aids and cheers. 

He does well in the forest wild 

Who slays the monster and saves the child ; 

But he does better, and merits more, 

W^ho drives the wolf from the poor man's door. 



Now that I have come to the love part made your hair stand on end only to read 

of ray story, I am suddenly conscious of of them, — dyed at their birth clear through 

dingy common colors on the palette with with Pluto's blackest poison, going about 

which I have been painting. I wish I had perpetually seeking innocent maidens and 

some brilliant dyes. I wish, with all my unsophisticated old men to devour. That 

heart, I could take you back to that " Once was the time for holding up virtue and 

upon a time " in which the souls of our vice ; no trouble then in seeing which 

grandmothers delighted, — the time which were sheep and which were goats ! A 

Dr. Johnson sat up all night to read about person could write a story with a moral 

in " Evelina," — the time when all the to it, then, I should hope ! People that 

celestial virtues, all the earthly graces were born in those days had no fancy for 

were revealed in a condensed state to going through the world with half-and-half 

man through the blue eyes and sumptu- characters, such as we put up with ; so 

ous linens of some Belinda Portman or Nature turned out complete specimens of 

Lord Mortimer. None of your good- each class, with all the appendages of dress, 

hearted, sorely-tempted villains then ! It fortune, et cetera, chording decently. At 


A Story of To-Day. 


least, so those veracious histories say. The 
heroine, for instance, gUdes into hfe full- 
charged with rank, virtues, a name three- 
syllabled, and a white dress that never 
needs washing, ready to sail through dan- 
gers dire into a triumphant haven of mat- 
rimony ; — all the aristocrats have high 
foreheads and cold blue eyes ; all the peas- 
ants are old women, miraculously grateful, 
in neat check aprons, or sullen-browed in- 
surgents planning revolts in caves. 

Of course, I do not mean that these 
times are gone : they are alive ( in a mod- 
ern fashion) in many places in the world ; 
some of my friends have described them 
in prose and verse. I only mean to say 
that I never was there ; I was born un- 
lucky. I am willing to do my best, but I 
live in the commonplace. Once or twice 
I have rashly tried my hand at dark con- 
spiracies, and women rare and radiant in 
Italian bowers ; but I have a friend who 
is sure to say, " Try and tell us about 
the butcher next door, my dear." If I 
look up from my paper now, I shall be 
just as apt to see our dog and his kennel 
as the white sky stained with blood and 
Tyrian purple. I never saw a full-blood- 
ed saint or sinner in my life. The cold- 
est villain I ever knew was the only son 
of his mother, and she a widow, — and a 
kinder son never lived. I have known 
people capable of a love terrible in its 
strength ; but I never knew such a case 
that some one did not consider its expe- 
diency as " a match " in the light of dol- 
lars and cents. As for heroines, of course 
I know beautiful women, and good as fair. 
The most beautiful is delicate and pure 
enough for a type of the Madonna, and 
has a heart almost as warm and holy 
as hers who was blessed among wom- 
en. (Very pure blood is in her veins, 
too, if you care about blood.) But at 
home they call her Tode for a nickname ; 
all we can do, she will sinjr, and sinpf 
through her nose ; and on washing-days 
she often cooks the dinner, and scolds 
wholesomely, if the tea-napkins are not 
in order. Now, what is anybody to do 
with a heroine like that ? I have known 
old maids in abundance, with pathos and 

sunshine in their lives ; but the old maid 
of novels I never have met, who abandon- 
ed her soul to gossip, — nor yet the other 
type, a life-long martyr of unselfishness. 
They are mixed generally, and are not 
unlike their married sisters, so far as I can 
see. Then as to men, certainly I know 
heroes. One man, I knew, as high a chev- 
alier in heart as any Bayard of them all ; 
one of those souls simple and gentle as a 
woman, tender in knightly honor. He 
was an old man, with a rusty brown coat 
and rustier wig, who spent his life in a 
dingy village office. You poets would 
have laughed at him. Well, well, his 
history never will be written. The kind, 
sad, blue eyes are shut now. There is 
a little farm -graveyard overgrown with 
pinvet and wild grape-vines, and a flat- 
tened grave where he was laid to rest; 
and only a few who knew him when they 
were children care to go there, and think 
of what he was to them. But it was not 
in the far days of Chivalry alone, I think, 
that true and tender souls have stood in 
the world unwelcome, and, hurt to the 
quick, have turned away and dumbly 
died. Let it be. Their lives are not 
lost, thank God ! 

I meant only to ask you, How can I 
help it, if the people in my story seem 
coarse to you, — if the hero, unlike all 
other heroes, stopped to count the cost 
before he fell in love, — if it made his fin- 
gers thrill with pleasure to touch a full 
pocket-book as well as his mistress's hand, 
— not being withal, this Stephen Holmes, 
a man to be despised ? A hero, rather, 
of a peculiar type, — a man, more than oth- 
er men : the very mould of man, doubt 
it who will, that women love longest and 
most madly. Of course, if I could, I 
would have blotted out every meaimess 
or flaw before I showed him to you; I 
would have given you Margaret an impet- 
uous, whole-souled woman, glad to throw 
her life down for her father without one 
bitter thought of the wife and mother she 
might have been ; I would have painted 
her mother tender as she was, forgetting 
how pettish she grew on busy days : but 
what can I do ? I must show you men 


A Story of To-Day. 


and women as they are in that especial 
State of the Union where I live. In all 
the others, of course, it is very different. 
Now, being prepared for disappointment, 
will you see my hero ? 

He had sauntered out from the city for 
a morning walk,— not through the hills, as 
Margaret went, going home, but on the 
other side, to the river, over which you 
could see the Prairie. We are in Indi- 
ana, remember. The sunlight was pure 
that morning, powerful, tintless, the true 
wine of life for body or spirit. Stephen 
Holmes knew that, being a man of deli- 
cate animal instincts, and so used it, just 
as he had used the dumb-bells in the morn- 
ing. All things were made for man, were 
n't they? He was leaning against the 
door of the school-house, — a red, flaunt- 
ing house, the daub on the landscape : but, 
having his back to it, he could not see it, 
so through his half-shut eyes he suffered 
the beauty of the scene to act on him. 
Suffered : in a man, according to his 
creed, the will being dominant, and all 
influences, such as beauty, pain, religion, 
permitted to act under orders. Of course. 

It was a peculiar landscape, — like the 
man who looked at it, of a thoroughly 
American type. A range of sharp, dark 
hills, with a sombre depth of green shad- 
ow in the clefts, and on the sides massed 
forests of scarlet and flame and crimson. 
Above, the sharp peaks of stone rose into 
the wan blue, wan and pale themselves, 
and wearing a certain air of fixed calm, 
the type of an eternal quiet. At the base 
of the hills lay the city, a dirty mass of 
bricks and smoke and dust, and at its far 
edge flowed the Wabash,— deep here, tint- 
ed with green, writhing and gurgling and 
curdling on the banks over shelving ledges 
of lichen and mud-covered rock. Beyond 
it yawned the opening to the great West, 
— the Prairies. Not the dreary deadness 
here, as farther west. A plain dark russet 
in hue,— for the grass was sun-scorched, — 
stretching away into the vague distance, 
intolerable, silent, broken by hillocks and 
puny streams that only made the vastness 
and silence more wide and heavy. Its 
limitless torpor weighed on the brain ; the 

eyes ached, stretching to find some break 
before the dull russet faded into the am- 
ber of the horizon and was lost. An 
American landscape : of few features, 
simple, grand in outline as a face of one 
of the early gods. It lay utterly motion- 
less before him, not a fleck of cloud in 
the pure blue above, even where the mist 
rose from the river ; it only had glorified 
the clear blue into clearer violet. 

Holmes stood quietly looking ; he could 
have created a picture like this, if he nev- 
er had seen one ; therefore he was able to 
recognize it, accepted it into his soul, and 
let it do what it would there. 

Suddenly a low wind from the far Pa- 
cific coast struck from the amber line 
where the sun went down. A faint trem- 
ble passed over the great hills, the broad 
sweeps of color darkened from base to 
summit, then flashed again, — while be- 
low, the prairie rose and fell like a dun 
sea, and rolled in long, slow, solemn 

The wind struck so broad and fiercely 
in Holmes's face that he caught his breath. 
It was a savage freedom, he thought, in 
the West there, whose breath blew on 
him, — the freedom of the primitive man, 
the untamed animal man, self-reliant and 
self-assertant, having conquered Nature. 
Well, this fierce masterful freedom was 
good for the soul, sometimes, doubtless. 
It was old Knowles's vital air. He won- 
dered if the old man would succeed in 
his hobby, if he could make the slavish 
beggars and thieves in the alleys yonder 
comprehend this fierce freedom. They 
craved leave to live on sufferance now, 
not knowing their possible divinity. It 
was a desperate remedy, this sense of un- 
checked liberty ; but their disease was des- 
perate. As for himself, he did not need 
it; that element was not lacking. In a 
mere bodily sense, to be sure. He felt 
his arm. Yes, the cold rigor of this new 
life had already worn off much of the 
clogging weight of flesh, strengthened the 
muscles. Six months more in the West 
would toughen the fibres to iron. He 
raised an iron weight that lay on the 
steps, carelessly testing them. For the 


A Story of To-Day. 


rest, he was going back here ; something 
of the cold, loose freshness got into his 
brain, he believed. In the two years of 
absence his power of concentration had 
been stronger, his perceptions more free 
from prejudice, gaining every day deli- 
cate point, acuteness of analysis. He drew 
a long breath of the icy air, coarse with 
the wild perfume of the prairie. No, his 
temperament needed a subtiler atmos- 
phere than this, rarer essence than mere 
brutal freedom. The East, the Old World, 
was his proper sphere for self - develop- 
ment. He would go as soon as he could 
command the means, leaving all c1o<ts be- 
hind. All? His idle thought balked here, 
suddenly ; the sallow forehead contracted 
sharply, and his gray eyes grew in an in- 
stant shallow, careless, formal, as a man 
who holds back his thought. There was 
a fierce warring in his brain for a mo- 
ment. Then he brushed his Kossuth hat 
with his arm, and put it on, looking out at 
the landscape again. Somehow its mean- 
ing was dulled to him. Just then a muddy 
terrier came up, and rubbed itself against 
his knee. " Why, Tige, old boy ! " he 
said, stooping to pat it kindly. The hard, 
shallow look faded out, and he half smil- 
ed, looking in the dog's eyes. A curious 
smile, unspeakably tender and sad. It 
was the idiosyncrasy of the man's face, 
rarely seen there. He might have looked 
with it at a criminal, condemning him to 
death. But he would have condemned 
him, and, if no hangman could be found, 
would have put the rope on with his own 
hands, and then most probably would have 
sat down pale and trembling, and analyz- 
ed his sensations on paper, — being sin- 
cere in all. 

He sat down on the school-house step, 
which the boys had hacked and whittled 
rough, and waited; for he was there by 
appointment, to meet Dr. Knowles. 

Knowles had gone out early in the 
morning to look at the ground he was 
going to buy for his Phalanstery, or what- 
ever he chose to call it. He was to bring 
the deed of sale of the mill out with him 
for Holmes. The next day it was to be 
signed. Holmes saw him at last lumber- 

ing across the prairie, wiping the perspira- 
tion from his forehead. Summer or win- 
ter, he contrived to be always hot. There 
was a cart drawn by an old donkey com- 
ing along beside him. Knowles was talk- 
ing to the driver. The old man clapped 
his hands as stage-coachmen do, and drew 
in long draughts of air, as if there were 
keen life and promise in every breath. 
They came up at last, the cart empty, and 
drying for the day's work after its morn- 
ing's scrubbing, Lois's pock-marked face 
all in a glow with trying to keep Barney 
awake. She grew quite red with pleas- 
ure at seeing Holmes, but went on quick- 
ly as the men began to talk. Tige fol- 
lowed her, of course ; but when she had 
gone a little way across the prairie, they 
saw her stop, and presently the dog came 
back with something in his mouth, which 
he laid down beside his master, and bolted 
off. It was only a rough wicker-basket 
which she had filled with damp plushy 
moss, and half-buried in it clusters of 
plumy fern, delicate brown and ashen 
lichens, masses of forest-leaves all shaded 
green with a few crimson tints. It had 
a clear woody smell, like far-off myrrh. 
The Doctor laughed as Holmes took it 

" An artist's gift, if it is from a mulat- 
to," he said. " A born colorist." 

The men were not at ease, for some 
reason ; they seized on every trifle to 
keep oflT the subject which had brought 
them together. 

" That girl's artist-sense is pure, and 
her religion, down under the perversion 
and ignorance of her brain. Curious, eh ? " 

" Look at the top of her head, when 
you see her," said Holmes. " It is neces- 
sity for such brains to worship. They let 
the fire lick their blood, if they happen 
to be born Parsees. This girl, if she had 
been a Jew when Christ was born, would 
have known him as Simeon did." 

Knowles said nothing, — only glanced 
at the massive head of the speaker, with 
its overhanging brow, square develop- 
ment at the sides, and lowered crown, 
and smiled significantly. 

" Exactly," laughed Holmes, putting 


A Story of To-Day. 


his hand on his head. " Crippled there by 
my Yorkshire blood, — my mother. Nev- 
er mind ; outside of this life, blood or cir- 
cumstance matters nothing." 

They walked on slowly towards town. 
Surely there was nothing in the bill-of- 
sale which the old man had in his pocket 
but a mere matter of business ; yet they 
were strangely silent about it, as if it 
brought shame to some one. There was 
an embarrassed pause. The Doctor went 
back to Lois for relief 

"I think it is the pain and want of 
such as she that makes them susceptible 
to religion. The self in them is so starv- 
ed and humbled that it cannot obscure 
their eyes ; they see God clearly." 

" Say rather," said Holmes, " that the 
soul is so starved and blind that it can- 
not recognize itself as God." 

The Doctor's intolerant eye kindled. 

" Humph ! So that 's your creed ! 
Not Pantheism. Ego sum. Of course 
you go on with the conjugation : / have 
been, I shall he. I, — that covers the 
whole ground, creation, redemption, and 
commands the hereafter ? " 

" It does so," said Holmes, coolly. 

" And this wretched huckster carries 
her deity about her, — her self-existent 
soul ? How, in God's name, is her life 
to set it free ? " 

Holmes said nothing. The coarse sneer 
could not be answered. Men with pale 
faces and heavy jaws like his do not car- 
ry their religion on their tongue's end ; 
their creeds leave them only in the slow 
oozing life-blood, false as the creeds may 

Knowles went on hotly, half to him- 
self, seizing on the new idea fiercely, as 
men and women do who are yet groping 
for the truth of life. 

" What is it your Novalis says ? ' The 
true Shechinah is man.' You know no 
higher God ? Pooh ! the idea is old 
enough ; it began with Eve. It works 
slowly. Holmes. In six thousand years, 
taking humanity as one, this self- exist- 
ent soul should have clothed itself with 
a freer, royaller garment than poor Lois's 
body, — or mine," he added, bitterly. 

" It works slowly," said the other, qui- 
etly. " Faster soon, in America. There 
are yet many ills of life for the divinity 
witliin to conquer." 

" And Lois and the swarming mass 
yonder in those dens ? It is late for 
them to begin the fight?" 

" Endurance is enough for them here. 
Their religions teach them that they could 
not bear the truth. One does not put a 
weapon into the hands of a man dying 
of the fetor and hunger of the siege." 

" But what will this life, or the lives to 
come, give to you champions who know 
the truth ? " 

" Nothing but victory," he said, in a 
low tone, looking away. 

Knowles looked at the pale strength 
of the iron face. 

" God help you, Stephen ! " he broke 
out, his shallow jeering falling off. " For 
there is a God higher than we. The ills 
of fife you mean to conquer will teach it 
to you. Holmes. You '11 find the Some- 
thing above yourself, if it 's only to curse 
Him and die." 

Holmes did not smile at the old man's 
heat, — walked gravely, steadily. 

There was a short silence. The old 
man put his hand gently on the other's 

" Stephen," he hesitated, " you 're a 
stronger man than I. I know what you 
are ; I 've watched you from a boy. But 
you 're wrong here. I 'm an old man. 
There 's not much I know in life, — 
enough to madden me. But I do know 
there 's something stronger, — some God 
outside of the mean devil they call ' Me.* 
You '11 learn it, boy. There 's an old 
story of a man like you and the rest of 
your sect, and of the vile, mean, crawling 
things that God sent to bring him down. 
There are such things yet. Mean pas- 
sions in your divine soul, low, selfish things, 
that will get the better of you, show you 
what you are. You '11 do all that man 
can do. But they are coming, Stephen 
Holmes ! they 're coming ! " 

He stopped, startled. For Holmes had 
turned abruptly, glancing over at the city 
with a strange wistfulness. It was over 


A Story of To-Day, 


in a moment. He resumed the slow, 
controlling walk beside him. They went 
on in silence into town, and when they 
did speak, it was on indifferent subjects, 
not referring to the last. The Doctor's 
heat, as it usually did, boiled out in spasms 
on trifles. Once he stumped his toe, and, 
I am sorry to say, swore roundly about 
it, just as he would have done in the 
new Arcadia, if one of the jail-birds com- 
prising that colony had been ungrateful 
for his advantages. Philanthropists, for 
some curious reason, are not the most 
amiable members of small families. 

He gave Holmes the roll of parchment 
he had in his pocket, looking keenly at 
him, as he did so, but only saying, that, if 
he ifteant to sign it, it would be done to- 
morrow. As Holmes took it, they stop- 
ped at the great door of the factory. He 
went in alone, Knowles going down the 
street. One trifle, strange in its way, he 
remembered afterwards. Holding the 
roll of paper in his hand that would 
make the mill his, he went, in his slow, 
grave way, down the long passage to the 
loom-rooms. There was a crowd of por- 
ters and firemen there, as usual, and he 
thought one of them hastily passed him 
in the dark passage, hiding behind an 
engine. As the shadow fell on him, his 
teeth chattered with a chilly shudder. 
He smiled, thinking how superstitious 
people would say that some one trod on 
his grave just then, or that Death looked 
at him, and went on. Afterwards he 
thought of it. Going through the office, 
the fat old book-keeper. Huff, stopped him 
with a story he had been keeping for 
him all day. He liked to tell a story to 
Holmes ; he could see into a joke ; it 
did a man good to hear a fellow laugh 
like that. Holmes did laugh, for the story 
was a good one, and stood a moment, then 
went in, leaving the old fellow chuckling 
over his desk. Huff did not know how, 
lately, after every laugh, this man felt a 
vague scorn of himself, as if jokes and 
laughter belonged to a self that ought to 
have been dead long ago. Perhaps, if 
the fat old book-keeper had known it, he 
would have said that the man was better 

than he knew. But then, — poor Huff! 
He passed slowly through the long alleys 
between the great looms. Overhead the 
ceiling looked like a heavy maze of iron 
cylinders and black swinging bars and 
wheels, all in swift, ponderous motion. 
It was enough to make a brain dizzy with 
the clanging thunder of the engines, the 
whizzing spindles of red and yellow, and 
the hot daylight glaring over all. The 
looms were watched by women, most of 
them bold, tawdry girls of fifteen or six- 
teen, or lean-jawed women from the hills, 
wives of the coal-diggers. There was a 
breathless odor of copperas. As he went 
from one room to another up through the 
ascending stories, he had a vague sensa- 
tion of being followed. Some shadow lurk- 
ed at times behind the engines, or stole af- 
ter him in the dark entries. Were there 
ghosts, then, in mills in broad daylight ? 
None but the ghosts of Want and Hun- 
ger and Crime, he might have known, that 
do not wait for night to walk our streets : 
the ghosts that poor old Knowles hoped 
to lay forever. 

Holmes had a room fitted up in the 
mill, where he slept. He went up to it 
slowly, holding the paper tightly in one 
hand, glancing at the operatives, the work, 
through his furtive half-shut eye. Noth- 
ing escaped him. Passing the windows, 
he did not once look out at the prophetic 
dream of beauty he had left without. In 
the mill he was of the mill. Yet he went 
slowly, as if he shrank from the task wait- 
ing for him. Why should he ? It was a 
simple matter of business, this transfer of 
Knowles's share in the mill to himself; to- 
day he was to decide whether he would 
conclude the bargain. If any dark his- 
tory of wrong lay underneath, if this sim- 
ple decision of his was to be the strug- 
gle for life and death with him, his cold, 
firm face told nothing of it. Let us be 
just to him, stand by him, if we can, in 
the' midst of his desolate home and deso- 
late life, and look through his cold, sor- 
rowful eyes at the deed he was going to 
do. Dreary enough he looked, going 
through the great mill, despite the power 
in his quiet face. A man who had strength 


A Story of To-Day. 


to be alone ; yet, I think, ■with all his 
strength and power, his mother could not 
have borne to look back from the dead 
that day, to see her boy so utterly alone. 
The day was the crisis of his life, looked 
forward to for years ; he held in his hand 
a sure passport to fortune. Yet he thrust 
the hour off, perversely, trifling with idle 
fancies, pushing from him the one ques- 
tion which all the years past and to come 
had left for this day to decide. 

Some such idle fancy it may have been 
that made the man turn from the usual 
way down a narrow passage into which 
opened doors from small offices. Marga- 
ret Howth, he had learned to-day, was in 
the first one. He hesitated before he did 
it, his sallow face turning a trifle paler; 
then he went on in his hard, grave way, 
"wondering dimly if she remembered his 
step, if she cared to see him now. She 
used to know it, — she was the only one in 
the world who ever had cared to know it, 

— silly child ! Doubtless she was wiser 
now. He remembered he used to think, 
that, when this woman loved, it would be 
as he himself would love, with a simple 
trust which the wrong of years could not 

touch. And once he had thought 

Well, well, he was mistaken. Poor Mar- 
garet ! Better as it was. They were noth- 
ing to each other. She had put him from 
her, and he had suffered himself to be 
put away. Why, he would have given 
up every prospect of life, if he had done 
otherwise ! Yet he wondered bitterly 
if she had thought him selfish, — if she 
thought it was money he cared for, as 
the others did. It mattered nothing what 
they thought, but it wounded him intol- 
erably that she should wrong him. Yet, 
with all this, whenever he looked for- 
ward to death, it was with the certainty 
that he should find her there beyond. 
There would be no secrets then ; she 
would know then how he had loved her 
always. Loved her ? Yes ; he need not 
hide it from himself, surely. 

He was now by the door of the office ; 

— she was within. Little Margaret, poor 
little Margaret ! struggling there day af- 
ter day for the old father and mother. 

VOL. VIII. 46 

What a pale, cold little child she used 
to be ! such a child ! yet kindling at his 
look or touch, as if her veins were filled 
with subtile flame. Her soul was — like 
his own, he thought. He knew what it 
was, — he only. Even now he glowed 
with a man's triumph to know he held the 
secret life of this woman bare in his hand. 
No other human power could ever come 
near her ; he was secure in possession. 
She had put him from her ; — it was bet- 
ter for both, perhaps. Their paths were 
separate here ; for she had some unreal 
notions of duty, and he had too much to 
do in the world to clog himself with cares, 
or to idle an hour in the rare ecstasy of 
even love like this. 

He passed the office, not pausing in his 
slow step. Some sudden impufse made 
him put his hand on the door as he brush- 
ed against it : just a quick, light touch ; but 
it had all the fierce passion of a caress. 
He drew it back as quickly, and went on, 
wiping a clammy sweat from his face. 

The room he had fitted up for himself 
was whitewashed and barely furnished ; 
it made one's bones ache to look at the 
iron bedstead and chairs. Holmes's nat- 
ural taste was more glowing, however 
smothered, than that of any saffron-robed 
Sybarite. It needed correction, he knew, 
and this was the discipline. Besides, he 
had set apart the coming three or four 
years of his life to make money in, enough 
for the time to come. He would devote 
his whole strength to that work, and so 
be sooner done with it. Money, or place, 
or even power, was nothing but means 
to him : other men valued them because 
of their influence on others. As his work 
in the world was only the development, 
of himself, it was different, of course. 
What would it matter to his soul the 
day after death, if millions called his 
name aloud in blame or praise ? Would, 
he hear or answer then ? What would 
it matter to him then, if he had starved, 
with them or ruled over them ? People 
talked of benevolence. What would it 
matter to him then, the misery or happir 
ness of those yet working in this paltry 
life of ours ? In so far as the exercise 


A Story of To-Day. 


of kindly emotions or self-denial develop- 
ed the higher part of his nature, it was 
to be commended ; as for its effect on 
others, that he had nothing to do with. 
He practised self-denial constantly to 
strengthen the benevolent instincts. That 
very morning he had given his last dol- 
lar to Joe Byers, a half-starved cripple. 
" Chucked it at me," Joe said, " like as 
he 'd give a bone to a dog, and be damn- 
ed to him! Who thanks him?" To 
tell the truth, you will find no fairer ex- 
ponent than this Stephen Holmes of the 
great idea of American sociology, — that 
the object of life is to grow. Circumstan- 
ces had forced it on him, partly. Sitting 
now in his room, where he was counting 
the cost of becoming a merchant prince, 

could look back to the time of a boy- 
-uod passed in the depths of ignorance 
and vice. He knew what this Self with- 
in him was ; he knew how it had forced 
him to grope his way up, to give this 
hungry, insatiate soul air and freedom 
and knowledge. All men around him 
were doing the same, — thrusting and jost- 
ling and struggling, up, up. It was the 
American motto. Go ahead ;' mothers 
taught it to their children ; the whole sys- 
tem was a scale of glittering prizes. He at 
least saw the higher meaning of the truth ; 
he had no low ambitions. To lift this 
self up into a higher range of being when 
it had done with the uses of this, — that 
was his work. Self-salvation, self-eleva- 
tion, — the ideas that give birth to, and 
destroy half of our Christianity, half of 
our philanthropy ! Sometimes sleeping 
instincts in the man struggled up to as- 
sert a divinity more terrible than this 
growing self-existent soul that he purified 
and analyzed day by day: a depth of 
tender pity for outer pain ; a fierce long- 
ing for rest, on something, in something, 
he cared not what. He stifled such rebel- 
lious promptings, — called them morbid. 
He called it morbid, too, the passion now 
that chilled his strong blood, and wrung 
out these clammy drops on his forehead, 
at the mere thought of this girl below. 

He shut the door of his room tightly : 
he had no time to-day for lounging visitors. 

For Holmes, quiet and steady, was sought 
for, if not popular, even in the free-and- 
easy "West ; one of those men who are un- 
willingly masters among men. Just and 
mild, always ; with a peculiar gift that 
made men talk their best thoughts to 
him, knowing they would be understood ; 
if any core of eternal flint lay under the 
simple, truthful manner of the man, no- 
body saw it. 

He laid the bill of sale on the table ; it 
was an altogether practical matter on 
which he sat in judgment, but he was go- 
ing to do nothing rashly. A plain busi- 
ness document : he took Dr. Knowles's 
share in the factory ; the payments made 
with short intervals ; John Heme was 
to be his indorser : it needed only the 
names to make it valid. Plain enough ; 
no hint there of the tacit understanding 
that the purchase-money was a wedding 
dowry ; even between Heme and him- 
self it never was openly put into words. 
If he did not marry Miss Heme, the mill 
was her father's ; that of course must be 
spoken of, arranged to-morrow. If he 
took it, then ? if he married her ? Holmes 
had been poor, was miserably poor yet, 
with the position and habits of a man of 
refinement. God knows it was not to 
gratify those tastes that he clutched at 
this money. All the slow years of work 
trailed up before him, that were gone, — of 
hard, wearing work for daily bread, when 
his brain had been starving for knowl- 
edge, and his soul dulled, debased with 
sordid trading. Was this to be always ? 
Were these few golden moments of life 
to be traded for the bread and meat he 
ate ? To eat and drink, — was that what 
he was here for ? 

As he paced the floor mechanically, some 
vague recollection crossed his brain of a 
childish story of the man standing where 
the two great roads of life parted. They 
were open before him now. Money, mon- 
ey, — he took the word into his heart as a 
miser might do. With it, he was free from 
these carking cares that were making his 
mind foul and muddy. If he had money ! 
Slow, cool visions of triumphs rose before 
him outlined on the years to come, prac- 


A Story of To-Day. 


tical, if Utopian. Slow and sure successes 
of science and art, where his brain could 
work, helpful and growing. Far off, yet 
surely to come, — surely for him, — a day 
to come when a pure social system should 
be universal, should have thrust out its 
fibres of light knittin<j into one the na- 
tions of the earth, when the lowest slave 
should find its true place and rightful 
work, and stand up, knowing itself divine. 
" To insure to every man the freest devel- 
opment of his faculties " : he said over the 
hackneyed dogma again and again, while 
the heavy, hateful years of poverty rose 
before him that had trampled him down. 
" To insure to him the freest develop- 
ment," he did not need to wait for St. 
Simon, or the golden year, he thought 
with a dreary gibe ; money was enough, 
and — Miss Heme. 

It was curious, that, when this woman, 
whom he saw every day, came up in 
his mind, it was always in one posture, 
one costume. You have noticed that pe- 
culiarity in your remembrance of some 
persons ? Perhaps you would find, if 
you looked closely, that in that look or 
indelible gesture which your memory has 
caught there lies some subtile hint of 
the tie between your soul and theirs. 
Now, when Holmes had resolved cool- 
ly to weigh this woman, brain, heart, 
and flesh, to know how much of a hin- 
drance she would be, he could only see 
her, with his artist's sense, as delicate a 
bloom of coloring as eye could crave, in 
one immovable posture, — as he had seen 
her once in some masquerade or tableau 
vivant. June, I think it was, she chose 
to represent that evening, — and with her 
usual success ; for no woman ever knew 
more thoroughly her material of shape or 
color, or how to work it up. Not an ill- 
chosen fancy, either, that of the moist, 
warm month. Some tranced summer's 
day might have drowsed down into such 
a human form by a dank pool, or on the 
thick grass-crusted meadows. There was 
the full contour of the limbs hid under 
warm green folds, the white flesh that 
glowed when you touched it as if some 
smothered heat lay beneath, the sleeping 

face, the amber hair uncoiled in a lan- 
guid quiet, while yellow jasmines deep- 
ened its hue into molten sunshine, and a 
great tiger-lily laid its sultry head on her 
breast. June ? Could June become in- 
carnate with higher poetic meaning than 
that which this woman gave it ? Mr. 
Kitts, the artist I told you of, thought 
not, and fell in love with June and her 
on the spot, which passion became quite 
unbearable after she had graciously per- 
mitted him to sketch her, — for the ben- 
efit of Art. Three medical students and 
one attorney Miss Heme numbered as 
having been driven into a state of dogged 
despair on that triumphal occasion. Mr. 
Holmes may have quarrelled with the 
rendering, doubting to himself if her lip 
were not too thick, her eye too brassy and 
pale a blue for the queen of months; 
though I do not believe he thought at all 
about it. Yet the picture clung to his 

As he slowly paced the room to-day, 
thinking of this woman as his wife, light 
blue eyes and yellow hair and the un- 
clean sweetness of jasmine -flowers mix- 
ed with the hot sunshine and smells of 
the mill. He could think of her in no 
other light. He might have done so ; for 
the poor girl had her other sides for view. 
She had one of those sharp, tawdry intel- 
lects whose possessors are always reckon- 
ed " brilliant women, fine talkers." She 
was (aside from the necessary sarcasm 
to keep up this reputation) a good-hu- 
mored soul enough, — when no one stood 
in her way. But if her shallow virtues or 
vices were palpable at all to him to-day, 
they became one with the torpid beauty 
of the oppressive summer day, and weigh- 
ed on him alike with a vague disgust. 
The woman luxuriated in perfume ; some 
heavy odor always hung about her. 
Holmes, thinking of her now, fancied he 
felt it stifling the air, and opened the 
window for breath. Patchouli or cop- 
peras, — what was the difference ? The 
mill and his future wife came to him to- 
gether ; it was scarcely his fault, if he 
thought of them as one, or muttered, 
"Damnable clog!" as he sat down to 


A Story of To-Day. 


write, his cold eye growing colder. But 
Le did not argue the question any longer ; 
decision had come keenly in one moment, 
fixed, unalterable. 

If, through the long day, the starved 
heart of the man called feebly for its nat- 
ural food, he called it a paltry weakness ; 
or if the old thought of the quiet, pure lit- 
tle girl in the office below came back to 
him, he — he wished her well, he hoped she 
might succeed in her work, he would al- 
ways be ready to lend her a helping hand. 
So many years (he was ashamed to think 
how many) he had built the thought 
of this girl as his wife into the future, 
put his soul's strength into the hope, as 
if love and the homely duties of husband 
and father were what life was given for ! 
A boyish fancy, he thought. He had 
not learned then that all dreams must 
yield to self-reverence and self-growth. 
As for taking up this life of poverty and 
soul-starvation for the sake of a little love, 
it would be an ignoble martyrdom, the 
sacrifice of a grand unmeasured Rfe to a 
shallow pleasure. He was no longer a 
young man now ; he had no time to waste. 
Poor Margaret ! he wondered if it hurt 
her now. 

He left the writing in the slow, quiet 
way natural to him, and after a while 
stooped to pat the dog softly, who was 
trying to lick his hand, — with the hard 
fingers shaking a little, and a smothered 
fierceness in the half-closed eye, like a 
man who is tortured and alone. 

There is a miserable drama acted in 
other homes than the Tuileries, when 
men have found a woman's heart in their 
way to success, and trampled it down 
under an iron heel. Men like Napoleon 
must live out the law of their natures, I 
suppose, — on a throne or in a mill. 

So many trifles that day roused the 
under-current of old thoughts and old 
hopes that taunted him, — trifles, too, that 
he would not have heeded at another 
time. Pike came in on business, a bunch 
of bills in his hand. A wily, keen eye 
he had, looking over them, — a lean face, 
emphasized only by cunning. No won- 
der Dr. Knowles cursed him for a " slip- 

pery customer," and was cheated by him 
the next hour. While he and Holmes 
were counting out the bills, a httle white- 
headed girl crept shyly in at the door, 
and came up to the table, — oddly dress- 
ed, in an old-fashioned frock fastened 
with great horn buttons, and with an old- 
fashioned anxious pair of eyes, the color 
of blue Delft. Holmes smoothed her hair, 
as she stood beside them ; for he never 
could help caressing children or dogs. 
Pike looked up sharply,— then half smil- 
ed, as he went on counting. 

"Ninety, ninety -five, and one hun- 
dred, all right," — tying a bit of tape 
about the papers. "My Sophy, Mr. 
Holmes. Good girl, Sophy is. Bring 
her up to the mill sometimes," he said, 
apologetically, " on 'count of not leaving 
her alone. She gets lonesome at th' 

Holmes glanced at Pike's felt hat lying 
on the table : there was a rusty strip of 
crape on it. 

" Yes," said Pike, in a lower tone, 
" I 'm father and mother, both, to Sophy 

" I had not heard," said Holmes, kind- 
ly. " How about the boys, now ? " 

" Pete and John 's both gone West," 
the man said, his eyes kindling eagerly. 
" 'S fine boys as ever turned out of In- 
diana. Good eddications I give 'em 
both. I 've felt the want of that all my 
life. Good eddications. Says I, 'Now, 
boys, you 've got your fortunes, nothing 
to hinder your bein' President. Let 's 
see what stuff *s in ye,' says I. So they 
're doin' well. Wrote fur me to come 
out in the fall. But I 'd rather scratch 
on, and gather up a little for Sophy here, 
before I stop work." 

He patted Sophy's tanned httle hand 
on the table, as if beating some soft tune. 
Holmes folded up the bills. Even this 
man could spare time out of his hard, 
stingy hfe to love, and be loved, and to 
be generous ! But then he had no higher 
aim, knew nothing better. 

" Well," said Pike, rising, " in case you 
take th' mill, Mr. Holmes, I hope we '11 
be agreeable. I '11 strive to do my best," 


A Story of To-Bay. 


— in the old fawning manner, to which 
Hohnes nodded a curt reply. 

The man stopped for Sophy to gather 
up her bits of broken China with which 
she was making a tea-party on the table, 
and went down-stairs. 

Towards evening Holmes went out, — 
not going through the narrow passage 
that led to the offices, but avoiding it 
by a circuitous route. If it cost him 
any pain to think why he did it, he 
showed none in his calm, observant 
face. Buttoning up his coat as he 
went: the October sunset looked as if 
it ought to be warm, but he was death- 
ly cold. On the street the young doctor 
beset him again with bows and news : 
Cox was his name, I believe ; the one, 
you remember, who had such a Talley- 
rand nose for ferreting out successful 
men. He had to bear with him but for 
a few moments, however. They met a 
crowd of workmen at the corner, one of 
whom, an old man freshly washed, with 
honest eyes looking out of horn specta- 
cles, waited for them by a fire-plug. It 
was Polston, the .coal- digger, — an ac- 
quaintance, a far-off kinsman of Holmes, 
in fact. 

" Curious person making signs to you, 
yonder," said Cox ; " hand, I presume." 

" My cousin Polston. If you do not 
know him, you '11 excuse me ? " 

Cox sniffed the air down the street, 

and twirled his rattan, as he went. The 

coal-digger was abrupt and distant in his 

greeting, going straight to business. 

" I will keep yoh only a minute, Mr. 


" Stephen," corrected Holmes. 
The old man's face warmed. 
" Stephen, then," holding out his hand, 
" sence old times dawn't shame yoh, Ste- 
phen. That 's hearty, now. It 's only a 
wured I want, but it 's immediate. Con- 
cernin' Joe Yare, — Lois's father, yoh 
know ? He 's back." 

" Back ? I saw him to-day, following 
me in the mill. His hair is gray ? I think 
it was he." 

" No doubt. Yes, he 's aged fast, 
down in the lock-up; goin' fast to the 

end. Feeble, pore-like. It 's a bad life, 
Joe Yare's ; I wish 'n' 't would be better 

to the end " 

He stopped with a wistful look at 
Holmes, who stood outwardly attentive, 
but with little thought to waste on Joe 
Yare. The old coal-digger drummed on 
the fire-plug uneasily. 

" Myself, 't was for Lois's sake I thowt 
on it. To speak plain, — yoh '11 mind 
that Stokes affair, th' note Yare brought ? 
Yes ? Ther' 's none knows o' that but 
yoh an' me. He 's safe, Yare is, only fur 
yoh an' me. Yoh speak the wured an* 
back he goes to the lock-up. Fur life. 
D' yoh see ? " 
" I see." 

" He 's tryin' to do right, Yare is." 
The old man went on, trying not to 
be eager, and watching Holmes's face. 
"He 's tryin'. Sendin* him back — 
yoh know how that '11 end. Seems like 
as we 'd his soul in our hands. S'pose, 
— what d' yoh think, if we give him a 
chance ? It 's yoh he fears. I see him 
a-watchin' yoh ; what d' yoh think, if we 
give him a chance ? ** catching Holmes's 
sleeve. " He 's old, an' he 's tryin'. Heh ? " 
Holmes smiled. 

" We did n't make the lav he broke. 
Justice before mercy. Have n't I heard 
you talk to Sam in that way, long ago ?" 
The old man loosened his hold of 
Holmes's arm, looked up and down the 
street, uncertain, disappointed. 

"The law. Yes. That's right! Yoh 're 
a just man, Stephen Holmes." 

"And yet?" 

" Yes. I dun'no'. Law 's right, but 
Yare 's had a bad chance, an' he 's tryin'. 
An* we *re sendin' him to hell. Some- 
thin' *s wrong. But I think yoh 're a just 
man," looking keenly in Holmes's face. 

" A hard one, people say," said Holmes, 
after a pause, as they walked on. 

He had spoken half to himself, and re- 
ceived no answer. Some blacker shadow 
troubled him than old Yare's fate. 

" My mother was a hard woman, -^ 
you knew her?" he said, abruptly. 

" She was just, like yoh. She was one 
o' th' elect, she said. Mercy 's fur them, 


Health in the Hospital. 


— an' outside, justice. It 's a narrer 
showin', I 'm thinkinV 

" My father was outside," said Holmes, 
some old bitterness rising up in his tone, 
his gray eye lighting with some unre- 
venged wrong. 

Polston did not speak for a moment. 

" Dunnot bear malice agin her. They 're 
dead, now. It was n't left fur her to judge 
him out yonder. Yoh 've yer father's 
eyes, Stephen, 'times. Hungry, pitiful, 
like women's. His got desper't' 't th' 
last. Drunk hard, — died of 't, yoh know. 
But she killed him, — th' sin was writ 
down fur her. Never was a boy I loved 
like him, when we was boys." 

There was a short silence. 

*' Yoh 're like yer mother," said Polston, 
striving for a lighter tone. "Here," — 
motioning to the heavy iron jaws. " She 
never — let go. Somehow, too, she 'd 
the law on her side in outward show- 
in', an' th' right. But I hated religion, 
knowin' her. Well, ther' 's a day of mak- 
in' things clear, comin'." 

They had reached the corner now, 
and Polston turned down the lane. 

" Yoh '11 think o' Yare's case ? " he 

" Yes. •But how can I help it," 
Holmes said, lightly, " if I am like my 
mother here ? " — putting his hand to his 

" God help US, how can yoh ? It 's 
harrd to think father and mother leave 

their souls fightin' in their childern, cos 
th' love was wantin' to make them one 

Something glittered along the street as 
he spoke : the silver mountings of a low- 
hung phaeton drawn by a pair of Mex- 
ican ponies. One or two gentlemen on 
horseback were alongside, attendant on a 
lady within. She turned her fair face, 
and pale, greedy eyes, as she passed, and 
lifted her hand languidly in recognition 
of Holmes. Polston's face colored. 

"I 've heered," he said, holding out 
his grimy hand. " I wish yoh well, 
Stephen, boy. So *11 the old 'oman. 
Yoh '11 come an' see us, soon ? Ye 'r' look- 
in' fagged, an' yer eyes is gettin' more like 
yer father's. I 'm glad things is takin' 
a good turn with yoh ; an' yoh '11 never 
be like him, starvin' fur th' kind wured, 
an' havin' to die without it. I 'm glad 
yoh 've got true love. She 'd a fair face, 
I think. I wish yoh well, Stephen." 

Holmes shook the grimy hand, and then 
stood a moment looking back to the mill, 
from which the hands were just coming, 
and then down at the phaeton moving 
idly down the road. How cold it was 
growing ! People passing by had a sick- 
ly look, as if they were struck by the 
plague. He pushed the damp hair back, 
wiping his forehead, with another glance 
at the mill- women coming out of the gate, 
and then followed the phaeton down the 


In preparing to do the duty of society 
towards the wounded or sick soldier, the 
first consideration is. What is a Military 
Hospital ? No two nations seem to have 
answered this question in the same way ; 
yet it is a point of the first importance to 
them all. 

When England went to war last time, 
after a peace of forty years, the only idea 
in the minds of her military surgeons was 

of Regimental Hospitals. There was to 
be a place provided as an infirmary for a 
certain number of soldiers; a certain num- 
ber of orderlies were to be appointed as 
nurses ; and the regimental doctor and 
hospital-sergeant were to have the charge 
of the inmates. In each of these Regi- 
mental Hospitals there might be patients 
ill of a great variety of disorders, from 
the gravest to the lightest, all to be treat- 

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